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What would drive humanity underground?:

I had an idea pop into my head a while ago that involved a community of people living in a former mine. I know that the reason why they're down there is that there's something on the surface that scares the crap out of them, but so far I've been unable to figure out what and while the idea I've got focuses more on the community and how they survive and try to make the best of things rather then whatever is going on on the surface, I still need to have some idea as to what they're hiding from. Any ideas?
 
Nuclear winter is one of the most popular ones for this trope.

 3 lord Gacek, Fri, 13th Apr '12 4:14:01 PM from Kansas of Europe
KVLFON
Depends how long they are to stay inside (weeks? Months? Apparently forever?), which kind of setting is this (modern-day or sci-fi will bring different mindsets than medieval), and whether or not it's only fear that keeps them in. Could be a catastrophic event, particularly one with lingering effects (i.e. irradiation), or such that they hide and don't look back (assume there's nothing to return to). It can also, conversely, be as mundane as a plain old war, causing them to hide.
"Atheism is the religion whose followers are easiest to troll"
Euo will do!
Increased solar activity would be a good reason to start digging. That or increased bombardment from above.
"When all else failed, she tried being reasonable." ~ Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
Okay, a bit more info. One, nuclear war is right out since I want to do something different. Two, I'm leaning more towards a situation where it's possible to go out on to the surface but doing so is risky as hell. Three, something that would make people take cover on short notice is preferred since I want the characters to have to use a fair bit of ingenuity.
 
Go through the usual cliches.

  • 1) Plauge of Zombies.
  • 2) Giant Mutant Flesh Eating Bugs.
  • 3) Aliens Who Hunt Humans For Sport and Consider Underground "Offlimits"
  • 4) America Attacks With Drone Strikes, Criuse Missles and Bombers.
  • 5) WW 3 (non-Nuclear/non-bioweapon) Happens Due to (Insert Dumb Reason Here) And Now its a Global Riot.
 
 7 chihuahua 0, Fri, 13th Apr '12 6:13:41 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
Or perhaps the community was founded on a list of principles? Maybe the leader thought that they needed to get away from the above-ground world, and create their own utopia below.

Or perhaps they were plain old persecuted.

edited 13th Apr '12 6:14:06 PM by chihuahua0

Heheh, this just came to me. (wonder why just now)

These people are Vault Dwellers. (Or just some mad genius who thought WW 3 happened and sealed himself and his pregnant wife in a very well supplied underground bunker for 30 years)

They sealed themselves up in a Vault to escape Armagedon (real or only imagined) and have lived there for so long, recylicng water/waste, growing their food, fabricating whatever they need, that soon a cult of isolationism became the norm and the outside world was to kept out at all cost.

Then one day a Water Chip broke, and they have to send someone outside.

They pick straws.

Guess who got the short one? tongue
 
What'd you just say about my hair?!
There could be something wrong with the sun.

Wait, that's ripping off Digital Devil Saga...

Still. An idea.

edited 13th Apr '12 11:09:27 PM by pyr0h1tman8

In our heart, Mr. Ando will always be a penguin.
Shadowed Philosopher
Catastrophic damage to the ozone layer?
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
 11 Te Chameleon, Sat, 14th Apr '12 12:09:42 PM from Alberta, Canada
Irritable Reptilian
Something(s) that will eat/maim/kill them tends to be the standard- be it enemy troops, hungry ghosts, mutated animals, invading aliens, whatever. I suppose it really kind of depends on what sort of setting you're working with.

Had an idea of the 'things that find humans tasty' variety, I just need to figure out why we didn't manage to kill them.
 
Extreme climate change on the surface, like, in The Day After Tomorrow, but realistic. The Gulf Stream current... Ceases to exist, causing Europe to freeze. This also changes every other ocean current. Rainforests wouldn't get enough rain for the trees, so they would die. The monsoon would stop, so places in Asia wouldn't be able to grow rice; billions of people would die of starvation. I'm not sure what would happen in 'Murica, but Canada would completely freeze.

So, people could move underground to escape to horrible weather above.

Elvenking
cold is probably your best option, or changing weather conditions, as underground the temperature is usually very stable. if the temperature went from 0 degrees celcius to fifty in an hour, they might want to take shelter.
 15 Major Tom, Sat, 11th May '13 7:15:51 AM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
^^ Humanity survived no less than the last Ice Age in full. And if the Toba Catastrophe Theory is correct, Humanity survived a nuclear winter type catastrophe 74, 000 years ago.

We're far more resilient than you think when it comes to things like sudden or extreme climate change.
Endless Conflict: Every war ends in time, even supposedly this one.
 16 Ars Thaumaturgis, Sat, 11th May '13 7:54:51 AM Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
[up][up][up][up] Why not simply make the things that like to eat people (A) very difficult to kill — perhaps they're all but immune to bullets — and (B) incredibly numerous. We could have nuked and firebombed them all to death, or nearly so — but they were so many that doing so would likely have killed off a large portion of humanity. Indeed, you could even have it that we tried to kill them, but, somewhat ironically, they too took shelter from the falling bombs and replenished whatever losses they took more quickly than did the humans. As a result the surface is blasted and scarred, humanity no longer has access to whatever bombs may remain, and the creatures have taken the surface, scratching at the doors of the vaults, digging for a way in, making every creak and groan of the steel vault walls sound like the final arrival of those long, clawed fingers and grinning, toothsome mouths...

 17 m8e, Sat, 11th May '13 8:06:52 AM from Sweden Relationship Status: Wanna dance with somebody
[up][up]Humanity survived by not living where there was so x'ing cold and by not overpopulating the planet.
We aren't standing on the shoulders of giants, we are standing on totem poles of dwarfs
 18 Major Tom, Sat, 11th May '13 1:46:36 PM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
^ The Toba supereruption was bigger than any catastrophe in civilization's time. Some estimates suggest it killed all of humanity save for less than 1000 survivors. More generous estimates suggest 10, 000 to 20, 000 survivors.

Volcanic supereruption > overpopulation. If the Toba event happened in contemporary times you'd be looking at casualties in the hundreds of millions.
Endless Conflict: Every war ends in time, even supposedly this one.
 19 m8e, Sat, 11th May '13 2:15:11 PM from Sweden Relationship Status: Wanna dance with somebody
[up]Yes, and if something killed 7 billion people we would still have ~85 millon humans left and humanity would survive. tongue

What's your point? OP asked for reasons why a community of people would live in a former mine.

edited 11th May '13 2:18:12 PM by m8e

We aren't standing on the shoulders of giants, we are standing on totem poles of dwarfs
 20 Major Tom, Sat, 11th May '13 6:55:08 PM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
What's your point?

Overpopulation is such an overrated "catastrophe". Humans are one of the few species capable of giving overpopulation's effects the bird.

We've been warned about the dangers of overpopulation for decades now and we've been seeing the opposite happen since then. No ecological collapse, no massive famines (world hunger right now is a matter of distribution not production), no great upheavals or upsets.

Besides, about the only things that would permanently drive humanity underground are cataclysmic events that would otherwise be marked a Mass Extinction Event. Think giant meteors coming down and killing everything or spaceships in orbit glassing the planet to slag. That sort of level. Nuclear warfare is wimpy compared to that.
Endless Conflict: Every war ends in time, even supposedly this one.
 21 m8e, Sun, 12th May '13 12:21:20 AM from Sweden Relationship Status: Wanna dance with somebody
^^ Humanity survived no less than the last Ice Age in full. And if the Toba Catastrophe Theory is correct, Humanity survived a nuclear winter type catastrophe 74, 000 years ago.

We're far more resilient than you think when it comes to things like sudden or extreme climate change.

^ The Toba supereruption was bigger than any catastrophe in civilization's time. Some estimates suggest it killed all of humanity save for less than 1000 survivors. More generous estimates suggest 10, 000 to 20, 000 survivors.

Volcanic supereruption > overpopulation. If the Toba event happened in contemporary times you'd be looking at casualties in the hundreds of millions.

Humanity survived but shrunk to a population of 1000, very resilient.

What does humanity surviving whatever event or not have to do with anything? We are talking about humans moving underground to survive. None of them are going to say "Gosh, Why don't we all throw ourself to the wolves. Humanity is going to survive anyway, so what's the point?"

edited 12th May '13 12:24:55 AM by m8e

We aren't standing on the shoulders of giants, we are standing on totem poles of dwarfs
KW
Martins?
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Total posts: 22
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