History Main / AliensNeverInventedTheWheel

30th Jun '16 5:06:09 PM Doug86
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* ''Series/StarTrek'':

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* ''Series/StarTrek'':''Franchise/StarTrek'':
29th Jun '16 2:29:10 AM StFan
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!! Examples:

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!! Examples:
!!Examples:



[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

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[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]
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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]
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[[folder:Film]]

* The Thermians from ''Film/GalaxyQuest'' don't know the concept of fiction, period. As a result, they mistake TV series like ''[[ShowWithinAShow Galaxy Quest]]'' and ''GilligansIsland'' for real events. This is related to the fact that they also didn't know what lying was, until they met the BigBad (who incidentally figures out the plot and finds it hilarious).

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[[folder:Film]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The Thermians from ''Film/GalaxyQuest'' don't know the concept of fiction, period. As a result, they mistake TV series like ''[[ShowWithinAShow Galaxy Quest]]'' and ''GilligansIsland'' ''Series/GilligansIsland'' for real events. This is related to the fact that they also didn't know what lying was, until they met the BigBad (who incidentally figures out the plot and finds it hilarious).



* ''PrinceOfSpace'' features aliens invading ''because'' of this trope. The invaders from Krankor have superior spacefaring technology, but their ''fuel'' technology is inferior to Earth's; they need the new formula for rocket fuel to start a true invasion of the stars (they have only one working ship, as opposed to the fleet they could fuel with the new formula).

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* ''PrinceOfSpace'' ''Film/PrinceOfSpace'' features aliens invading ''because'' of this trope. The invaders from Krankor have superior spacefaring technology, but their ''fuel'' technology is inferior to Earth's; they need the new formula for rocket fuel to start a true invasion of the stars (they have only one working ship, as opposed to the fleet they could fuel with the new formula).









** Arthur Dent can never seem to find a cup of tea. At one point, a food synthesizer's computer is so stumped by the concept of tea that it effectively shuts down[[hottip:*:although it eventually synthesizes some of the best tea Arthur had ever tasted]].

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** Arthur Dent can never seem to find a cup of tea. At one point, a food synthesizer's computer is so stumped by the concept of tea that it effectively shuts down[[hottip:*:although down (although it eventually synthesizes some of the best tea Arthur had ever tasted]].tasted).



* In the ''EternalChampion'' story by Creator/MichaelMoorcock, where the human's technology level is roughly Middle Ages, the elf-like non-human Eldren have invented many 20th Century modern weapons of destruction, including futuristic ray guns but have never succeeded in making a flying machine. Erekose (who, in another life, has much experience with modern technology) is surprised at this gap in their knowledge.

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* In the ''EternalChampion'' ''Literature/EternalChampion'' story by Creator/MichaelMoorcock, where the human's technology level is roughly Middle Ages, the elf-like non-human Eldren have invented many 20th Century modern weapons of destruction, including futuristic ray guns but have never succeeded in making a flying machine. Erekose (who, in another life, has much experience with modern technology) is surprised at this gap in their knowledge.



* The Race from Creator/HarryTurtledove's ''{{Worldwar}}'' can fly between solar systems, possess nuclear weapons, and have incredibly powerful computers, yet they have no concept of chemical weaponry, or any sort of battle-field appropriate gas masks - their closest invention, filtration suits, are for cleaning up nuclear waste. This is partly because the Race haven't fought a real war in literally tens of thousands of years, but also because their extreme social conservatism creates effective technological stasis; any sort of major innovation is exhaustively studied to make sure it doesn't create social harm (ie upset the status quo), a process that takes so long that broadcast television apparently took ''sixty years'' to be legalised after it was invented.
* In ''{{Everworld}},'' it's noted that the Coo-Hatch have invented a kind of super-durable steel that can cut through just about anything, but have never discovered gunpowder. [[spoiler:Until the protagonists accidentally help them do that]]. It's also worth noting that David points out their grasp of something as comparably simple as knot-tying and the use of a pulley leaves much to be desired.

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* The Race from Creator/HarryTurtledove's ''{{Worldwar}}'' ''Literature/{{Worldwar}}'' can fly between solar systems, possess nuclear weapons, and have incredibly powerful computers, yet they have no concept of chemical weaponry, or any sort of battle-field appropriate gas masks - their closest invention, filtration suits, are for cleaning up nuclear waste. This is partly because the Race haven't fought a real war in literally tens of thousands of years, but also because their extreme social conservatism creates effective technological stasis; any sort of major innovation is exhaustively studied to make sure it doesn't create social harm (ie upset the status quo), a process that takes so long that broadcast television apparently took ''sixty years'' to be legalised after it was invented.
* In ''{{Everworld}},'' ''Literature/{{Everworld}},'' it's noted that the Coo-Hatch have invented a kind of super-durable steel that can cut through just about anything, but have never discovered gunpowder. [[spoiler:Until the protagonists accidentally help them do that]]. It's also worth noting that David points out their grasp of something as comparably simple as knot-tying and the use of a pulley leaves much to be desired.






[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]][[folder:Live-Action TV]]



* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** The Asgard, who are ridiculously far ahead of humans, have to enlist the Earthlings' help to fight the Replicators, against whom Asgard beam weaponry was useless, but [[KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter guns worked wonders]]. Thor mentions that the thought of using chemical propellants to fire a slug of blunt lead simply never occurred to them. Presumably, they hadn't used propellant weapons in several million years and didn't think of using them.
** There's also the fact that all Asgard are clones whose consciousnesses have been around for thousands of years. This tends to lead to some rigidness in views, although they're still damn good scientists.

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* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
**
''Series/StargateSG1'': The Asgard, who are ridiculously far ahead of humans, have to enlist the Earthlings' help to fight the Replicators, against whom Asgard beam weaponry was is useless, but [[KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter guns worked work wonders]]. Thor mentions that the thought of using chemical propellants to fire a slug of blunt lead simply never occurred to them. Presumably, they hadn't used propellant weapons in several million years and didn't think of using them.
**
them. There's also the fact that all Asgard are clones whose consciousnesses have been around for thousands of years. This tends to lead to some rigidness in views, although they're still damn good scientists.



* ''{{Series/Supergirl|2015}}'': In this show's universe, neither the Kryptonians nor any of their trading partners apparently ever invented popcorn or an equivalent.

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* ''{{Series/Supergirl|2015}}'': ''Series/{{Supergirl|2015}}'': In this show's universe, neither the Kryptonians nor any of their trading partners apparently ever invented popcorn or an equivalent.



[[folder: Multiple Media]]

* The inhabitants of the Matoran Universe in ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'' react with bafflement when they discover a parchment left behind by their {{Precursors}} and wheels affixed to the feet of the ancient warrior Umbra. Despite knowing what wheels are and several creatures [[BizarreAlienLocomotion having caterpillar tracks for legs]], their ground vehicles all had insect legs, and only one vehicle (the [[CoolBike Destral Cycle]]) was ever shown to canonically use wheels for their intended purpose.

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[[folder: Multiple Media]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* The inhabitants of the Matoran Universe in ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'' ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' react with bafflement when they discover a parchment left behind by their {{Precursors}} and wheels affixed to the feet of the ancient warrior Umbra. Despite knowing what wheels are and several creatures [[BizarreAlienLocomotion having caterpillar tracks for legs]], their ground vehicles all had insect legs, and only one vehicle (the [[CoolBike Destral Cycle]]) was ever shown to canonically use wheels for their intended purpose.
purpose.



[[folder: Video Games ]]

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[[folder: Video Games ]]
[[folder:Video Games]]



[[folder: Web Comics ]]
* In ''{{Webcomic/Homestuck}}'', the troll species has a bit of this.
** While the troll species does have recreational drug use, it has apparently never occurred to them to try [[TheSmokingSection lighting their drugs on fire and inhaling them]]. When Cronus is questioned about his cigarette (which he got simply to add to his GreaserDelinquent motif), he states that he would never actually ignite it, and simply sees it as a waste of a good cigarette.
** Trolls, due to being bisexual by nature, don't have words for single-gender sexuality. It's thought of more as a fetish than an actual biological preference. Further, since their reproductive process doesn't result in families and involves an insectoid queen, Karkat has a difficult time understanding the concept of why "incest" would be a bad thing.
** Averting it is PlayedForLaughs at a few points, such as when Terezi tries describing cotton candy as an exotic alien delicacy only for Dave to quip "we have cotton candy dumpass".

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[[folder: Web Comics ]]
[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In ''{{Webcomic/Homestuck}}'', ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'': The tech level of Remnant is extremely impressive in most respects, with holograms, massive flying airships, combat androids, etc. However, the troll species setting has a bit ''complete lack'' of this.
** While
space technology. The reason being that Dust, which the troll species does have recreational drug use, it has apparently setting uses for virtually all its power needs, ceases working once you get above the atmosphere for reasons unknown, and given that Dust is extremely efficient and cheap, they've never occurred to them to try [[TheSmokingSection lighting their drugs on fire and inhaling them]]. When Cronus is questioned about his cigarette (which he got simply to add to his GreaserDelinquent motif), he states looked toward developing any other type of fuel. This also means that he would never actually ignite it, and simply sees it as a waste of a good cigarette.
** Trolls, due to being bisexual by nature, don't have words for single-gender sexuality. It's thought of more as a fetish
Remnant's global communications network is less advanced than an actual biological preference. Further, since their reproductive process doesn't result the Internet in families real life, since, without any orbiting satellites, it's dependent on four giant towers and involves an insectoid queen, Karkat has a difficult time understanding lots of relay stations: if even one of the concept of why "incest" would be a bad thing.
** Averting it is PlayedForLaughs at a few points, such as when Terezi tries describing cotton candy as an exotic alien delicacy only
central towers fails for Dave to quip "we have cotton candy dumpass".whatever reason, the entire network is taken offline.



[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Apparently, TheMercuryMen have sophisticated technology; they can transport between worlds and manipulate gravity. But going from planet to planet via chemical-propelled rockets is something new and threatening to them.
* Nonhuman species in ''Literature/TheJenkinsverse'' never invented the gun: black powder weaponry is too heavy and recoils too hard for aliens to use effectively: They were never able to develop a version that could fire accurately which wouldn't also harm the weapon's operator. For this reason, only humans have invented ballistic weaponry, firearms and effective defences against firearms.
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'': The tech level of Remnant is extremely impressive in most respects, with holograms, massive flying airships, combat androids, etc. However, the setting has a ''complete lack'' of space technology. The reason being that Dust, which the setting uses for virtually all its power needs, ceases working once you get above the atmosphere for reasons unknown, and given that Dust is extremely efficient and cheap, they've never looked toward developing any other type of fuel. This also means that Remnant's global communications network is less advanced than the Internet in real life, since, without any orbiting satellites, it's dependent on four giant towers and lots of relay stations: if even one of the central towers fails for whatever reason, the entire network is taken offline.

to:

[[folder: Web Original ]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Apparently, TheMercuryMen have sophisticated technology; they can transport between worlds and manipulate gravity. But going from planet to planet via chemical-propelled rockets is something new and threatening to them.
* Nonhuman
In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', the troll species in ''Literature/TheJenkinsverse'' has a bit of this.
** While the troll species does have recreational drug use, it has apparently
never invented the gun: black powder weaponry is too heavy occurred to them to try [[TheSmokingSection lighting their drugs on fire and recoils too hard for aliens inhaling them]]. When Cronus is questioned about his cigarette (which he got simply to use effectively: They were add to his GreaserDelinquent motif), he states that he would never able actually ignite it, and simply sees it as a waste of a good cigarette.
** Trolls, due
to develop a version that could fire accurately which wouldn't also harm the weapon's operator. For this reason, only humans being bisexual by nature, don't have invented ballistic weaponry, firearms words for single-gender sexuality. It's thought of more as a fetish than an actual biological preference. Further, since their reproductive process doesn't result in families and effective defences against firearms.
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'': The tech level of Remnant is extremely impressive in most respects, with holograms, massive flying airships, combat androids, etc. However, the setting
involves an insectoid queen, Karkat has a ''complete lack'' of space technology. The reason being that Dust, which difficult time understanding the setting uses concept of why "incest" would be a bad thing.
** Averting it is PlayedForLaughs at a few points, such as when Terezi tries describing cotton candy as an exotic alien delicacy only
for virtually all its power needs, ceases working once you get above the atmosphere for reasons unknown, and given that Dust is extremely efficient and cheap, they've never looked toward developing any other type of fuel. This also means that Remnant's global communications network is less advanced than the Internet in real life, since, without any orbiting satellites, it's dependent on four giant towers and lots of relay stations: if even one of the central towers fails for whatever reason, the entire network is taken offline.
Dave to quip "We have cotton candy, dumbass."



[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* A ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Treehouse of Horror]]'' episode had Kang and Kodos coming to Earth to share their alien technology, which included the most advanced video game they'd ever created: Pong.
* On ''TheSuperHeroSquadShow,'' Skrulls never figured out how to make string cheese.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': Interactions with Peridot imply that wheels were never invented on Homeworld or became so obsolete as to be forgotten.

to:

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* A ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Treehouse of Horror]]'' episode had Kang Apparently, WebVideo/TheMercuryMen have sophisticated technology; they can transport between worlds and Kodos coming manipulate gravity. But going from planet to Earth planet via chemical-propelled rockets is something new and threatening to share their alien technology, which included the most advanced video game they'd ever created: Pong.
them.
* On ''TheSuperHeroSquadShow,'' Skrulls never figured out how to make string cheese.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': Interactions with Peridot imply that wheels were
Nonhuman species in ''Literature/TheJenkinsverse'' never invented on Homeworld or became so obsolete as the gun: black powder weaponry is too heavy and recoils too hard for aliens to be forgotten.
use effectively: They were never able to develop a version that could fire accurately which wouldn't also harm the weapon's operator. For this reason, only humans have invented ballistic weaponry, firearms and effective defences against firearms.



[[folder: Real Life ]]

to:

[[folder: Real Life ]]
[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': A ''WesternAnimation/TreehouseOfHorror'' episode has Kang and Kodos coming to Earth to share their alien technology, which includes the most advanced video game they'd ever created: Pong.
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheSuperHeroSquadShow,'' Skrulls never figured out how to make string cheese.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': Interactions with Peridot imply that wheels were never invented on Homeworld or became so obsolete as to be forgotten.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]



12th Jun '16 8:13:58 PM DarkHunter
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** The Drengin don't have such a thing as fiction - rather, they can sense pain and other negative emotions, which give them pleasure. Ergo, their only form of entertainment is causing pain/fear/etc. in others.

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** The Drengin don't have such a thing as fiction - rather, they can sense pain and other negative emotions, which give them pleasure. Ergo, their only form of entertainment is causing pain/fear/etc. in others. Or so they claim: Drengin that defect to or are conquered by more moral societies seem to get along just fine, so this may be propaganda used by the Drengin's government as a weak excuse for their cruelty.
27th May '16 3:32:21 PM Doug86
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* The Tran from Creator/AlanDeanFoster's [[HumanxCommonwealth Icerigger trilogy]] justifiably never invented the wheel, because they're natives of an ice-covered world where it's easier to move things on skate-blades and skis.

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* The Tran from Creator/AlanDeanFoster's [[HumanxCommonwealth [[Literature/HumanxCommonwealth Icerigger trilogy]] justifiably never invented the wheel, because they're natives of an ice-covered world where it's easier to move things on skate-blades and skis.
7th May '16 1:34:36 PM SCDifference
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** The books invert this with a few throwaway mentions of slood - something which is supposedly easier to discover than fire, and only slightly more difficult to discover than water.

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** The books invert this with a few throwaway mentions of slood - something which is supposedly easier to discover than fire, and only slightly more difficult to discover than water.[[note]]unfortunately, it's not available in all universes.[[/note]]



** The fifty-one members of the isolated marsh tribe of Fasta Benj, from ''Discworld/SmallGods'', had never encountered fire or metal before his tiny fishing boat got swept along with the invasion fleet. Presumably it was a ''very'' soggy marsh.

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** The fifty-one members of the isolated marsh tribe of that Fasta Benj, Benj belongs to, from ''Discworld/SmallGods'', had never encountered fire or metal before his tiny fishing boat got swept along with the Djelibeybi invasion fleet. Presumably it was a ''very'' soggy marsh.
26th Apr '16 6:12:44 PM TARINunit9
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* The whole plot of Creator/HarryTurtledove's short story "The Road Not Taken" and its sequel "Herbig-Haro". Antigravity and FTL travel turn out to be so ridiculously easy to discover that it can be done by civilisations "who can barely smelt metal", but the science involved is so different that it doesn't work with any other form of science or technology, and throws off the development of UsefulNotes/TheScientificMethod. Also, once you have antigravity and FTL, it could be said that you don't ''need'' many other forms of science or tech, so they are never developed. You end up with civilizations that essentially stall at whatever technology level they were at when antigravity is discovered. Humans find out about this when they are invaded by aliens, the current dominant local interstellar power, who march out of their anti-gravity propelled starships and attempt to conquer the planet with ''muskets'' and linear battle tactics. Given that they attempt to invade late 20th/early 21st century Earth, it's a short invasion, and humans promptly spread out to the stars with their superior technology. In the sequel, humans run into a species that had managed to carve out a small interstellar civilization without discovering antigravity and FTL, so now ''they'' are the ones caught in the antigravity trap.

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* The whole plot of Creator/HarryTurtledove's short story "The Road Not Taken" and its sequel "Herbig-Haro". Antigravity and FTL travel turn out to be so ridiculously easy to discover that it can be done by civilisations "who can barely smelt metal", but the science involved is so different that it doesn't work with any other form of science or technology, and throws off the development of UsefulNotes/TheScientificMethod. Also, once you have antigravity and FTL, it could be said that you don't ''need'' many other forms of science or tech, so they are never developed. You end up with civilizations that essentially stall at whatever technology level they were at when antigravity is discovered. Humans find out about this when they are invaded by aliens, the current dominant local interstellar power, who march out of their anti-gravity propelled starships and attempt to conquer the planet with ''muskets'' and linear battle tactics. Given that they attempt to invade late 20th/early 21st century Earth, it's a short invasion, and humans promptly spread out to the stars with their superior technology. In the sequel, humans run into a species that had managed to carve out a small interstellar civilization without discovering antigravity and FTL, so now ''they'' are the ones caught in the antigravity trap.trap[[note]]If we're being pedantic humans had also been weakened by spreading out ''so fast'', their circa 2050 technology couldn't allow a cohesive human nation to exist without fragmenting. However, the Orions would probably have beaten the Humans anyway[[/note]].
16th Apr '16 2:51:31 PM Yuihime
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* Several nonhuman races in ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' do not use individual names, or do so only for the benefit of the humans and human-equivalent races they interact with. However, when humans first made contact with planet Mazcab, the resident Goebies were floored by the concept of names for individuals, and quickly adopted the practice.

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* Several nonhuman races in ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' do not use individual names, or do so only for the benefit of the humans and human-equivalent races they interact with. However, when humans first made contact with planet Mazcab, the resident Goebies were floored by simply hadn't ''thought'' of using names for individuals (they do have names for places and [[NatureSpirit spirits]]) before humans introduced the concept of to them, so they use names for individuals, and quickly adopted [[AerithAndBob borrowed from the practice.humans they meet]].
1st Apr '16 1:35:24 PM thatother1dude
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* They're not aliens, but in ''Literature/WingsOfFire'' the [=NightWings=] are the most advanced dragon tribe who no about genetics, germ theory, and desalinization, and can even create [[spoiler:armor capable of carrying lava]], but they've apparently never invented glass.

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* They're not aliens, but in ''Literature/WingsOfFire'' In ''Literature/WingsOfFire'', the [=NightWings=] are the most advanced dragon tribe tribe, who no know about genetics, germ theory, and desalinization, and can even create [[spoiler:armor capable of carrying lava]], but they've apparently never invented glass.
31st Mar '16 7:10:48 PM molokai198
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Added DiffLines:

* They're not aliens, but in ''Literature/WingsOfFire'' the [=NightWings=] are the most advanced dragon tribe who no about genetics, germ theory, and desalinization, and can even create [[spoiler:armor capable of carrying lava]], but they've apparently never invented glass.
27th Mar '16 1:29:26 PM DarkHunter
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to:

* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'': The tech level of Remnant is extremely impressive in most respects, with holograms, massive flying airships, combat androids, etc. However, the setting has a ''complete lack'' of space technology. The reason being that Dust, which the setting uses for virtually all its power needs, ceases working once you get above the atmosphere for reasons unknown, and given that Dust is extremely efficient and cheap, they've never looked toward developing any other type of fuel. This also means that Remnant's global communications network is less advanced than the Internet in real life, since, without any orbiting satellites, it's dependent on four giant towers and lots of relay stations: if even one of the central towers fails for whatever reason, the entire network is taken offline.
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