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I have started pondering this as I have been watching a movie called Contact which is about this woman, Dr. Arroway, who works from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. She listens to radio transmissions hoping to find signals sent by extraterrestrial life. Science Advisor to the President David ends up pulling the funding from SETI because he believes the endeavor is futile. Dr. Arroway then gains backing from a secretive billionaire industrialist who has followed her career and allows her to continue her studies at the Very Large Array (VLA) in Socorro County, New Mexico. Four years later, with the Science Advisor seeking to close SETI, Dr. Arroway finds a signal repeating a sequence of prime numbers, apparently sent from the star Vega. They end up finding the signal contains instructions for an alien transport machine in which two of them are built. The first one is destroyed in a religious fanatic bombing while the other Dr. Arroway is sent through a serious of wormholes to a planet at the center of the galaxy where she meets the alien who has taken form of her father, but is then sent home with no evidence of the meeting.
Anyway, what has been getting me to really ponder this, is while I have been reading through the Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, I came across where Nicodemus explains that there was one book in the library of the Boniface Estate that was written by a famous scientist that had a chapter on rats. Nicodemus then said that it was about that millions of years ago, rats seemed to be ahead of all the other animals and seemed to be making a civilization of their own. They were well organized and built quite complicated villages in the fields, and their descendants today are the rats known as prairie dogs. Nicodemus continues by saying that it didn't work out and that the scientists thought maybe it was because the rats' lives were too easy. While the other animals and especially the monkeys, were living in the woods and getting tougher and smarter, the prairie dogs grew soft and lazy and made no more progress. Eventually the monkeys came out of the woods, walking on their hind legs, and took over the prairies and almost everything else. It was then that the rats were driven to become scavengers and thieves living on the fringe of a world run by men. Nicodemus then said that he and his fellow rats wondered if the rats had stayed ahead, if they had gone on and developed a real civilization, what would it have been like? Would rats, too, have shed their tails and learned to walk erect? Would they have made tools? Probably, though he thought not so soon and not so many as a rat has a natural set of tools that monkeys lack, which are sharp pointed teeth that never stop growing. Nicodemus then continues by saying that rats surely would have developed reading and writing, judging by the way they took it. But what about machines? What about cars and airplanes? Maybe not airplanes because after all, monkeys, living in trees, must have envied the birds around them while rats may not have that instinct. He continues saying that in the same way, a rat civilization would probably never have built skyscrapers since rats prefer to live underground, but think of the endless subways-below-subways-below-subways they would have had. And finally Nicodemus says they have thought and talked quite a bit about all of this, and realized that a rat civilization, if one ever did grow up, would not necessarily turn out to be anything at all like human civilization.
This had me pondering that what if while during the settling of the Thorn Valley settlement, the book that was read back at the Boniface Estate about a rat civilization gets brought back up by Justin or in front of Justin by a council of rats during a meeting of how to proceed with the Thorn Valley settlement, due to perhaps running into a small group of mice living nearby at the lake upon arrival to Thorn Valley after being forced to vacate the rose bush on the Fitzgibbon Farmstead ahead of schedule. That and being unsure on how to properly proceed with the mice willing to work with them after finding out they are part of the lost six mice from NIMH who managed to escape the air ducts and get here. This leads to them talking about the possibility of intelligent rodent civilizations existing on other worlds and what would they be like, and how and if it is possible to make contact with them to see about getting assistance. Then they start discussing about how to possibly do this and find out that they will need radio telescopes to listen for radio waves or signals from space on frequencies a rodent might use. Later, after getting the equipment and stuff they will need to do this and getting everything setup, they begin listening to regions of space for frequencies (and perhaps for unknown frequencies and energies at ground level as well for a sign of another rodent civilization to attempt to make contact with) and finding nothing of interest for a while. After a long while of listening and getting ready to give up, they sudden receive a signal coming from somewhere such as the constellation Roderus (a rodent shaped constellation) where after working to decode it, find out it contains instructions for building something that appears to have a similar function to Nicodemus's magical viewing device, but a bit more complicated since it seems to be a transport device of some kind as it also contains schematics for a pod of some sort for passengers. After much debate, they begin the slow progress of figuring it out and building it. Sometime later, they finish building it and begin discussing how they are going to test it out. This is probably when perhaps Mrs. Brisby may come into the picture as the one to test it out or something with her children and end up with it taking her somewhere unfamiliar.
Now, do you think scenarios like this could take place with the Rats of NIMH? And what do you think?