"I...I don't understand." stammered Cherryl from her place at the table. "How can they have found a G-Guillae?"
"I concur." agreed the old judge. "The Guillae vacated that planet dozens of rotations ago."
"Indeed they did." confirmed Harris. "But all the same, the humans have recovered one."
"Alive or dead?" asked Darrian in utter confusion.
"Are you kidding me?" snapped Cagool. "That thing has been there for who knows how many rotations. Alone. Under the ground from how it sounds. Why would you think it's alive?"
Harris cast a sidelong glance at Cagool before responding. "It's certainly dead."
"W-well that's good news." said Cherryl looking notably relieved.
"No. It's not." said Harris and the old judge seemingly simultaneously.
"No." confirmed the old judge.
Cherryl looked like she had more to ask, but quickly reconsidered as the old judge and Harris turned their attention back to each other.
"Sir. Is it normal for Guillae to leave one of theirs behind like this?"
The old judge shook his head.
"I'm not completely sure. It's been an exceptionally long time since the Consortium had any interaction with the Guillae. Likewise, as a general rule we never authorize colonization of old Guillae planets. Researchers rarely favor such locations either."
"So this could be a norm?" questioned Harris.
"We simply don't know."
"Why are we even discussing this?" groaned Cagool. "Who really cares?"
The old judge flashed Cagool a threatening glance before responding.
"Do you know anything about the Guillae, Cagool?" he said.
"Nothing more than you've told us before. Plant people. Like to eat planets. That sort of thing."
"I also mentioned that they travel together in a great cluster. A spore." explained the old judge. "Because of this, or maybe it's the other way around, the Guillae have a number of innate capabilities."
"Capabilities?" questioned Darrian.
"Well, for one, the Guillae are linked to one another. Each Guillae is connected to all of the others. Think of it almost like a hive mind, not unlike insects..."
"Or a flora-network." added A'alan't 32. "Like roots or a forest."
"Precisely." agreed the old judge. "It functions even across deep space."
"While creepy to think about, I ask again, who cares?" said Cagool. "It's dead."
"That brings us nicely to their other capability. Just one Guillae can repopulate an entire planet. One. Dead. Guillae."
"You can't be serious!"
"No. He's right." confirmed A'alan't 32. "I've been studying them on my down time. Not unlike some plants, Guillae essentially convert to giant seed spores upon death. Their only purpose is to sprout when exposed to water."
The old judge nodded in agreement before turning his attention back to Harris.
"Thank you, Harris." he said with a nod. "Is there anything else?"
As the old judge reached down to turn off the holographic imager, Harris spoke up.
"Actually, a moment, Sir."
"Should we...do something about this?"
There was excitement and confusion as whispers littered the table.
"Of course, Sir."
"Keep us up to date when the Guillae spores."
With that, Harris terminated the transmission and the old judge sighed. Darrian found the action peculiar for a robot. But with the number of other peculiar learned programming the old judge had demonstrated, this was hardly the strangest.
"So we're not doing anything about this?" asked A'alan't 32.
"We must maintain the quarantine." said the old judge. "We would need to discuss the matter with the Consortium before we could take any true action."
"But what if they accidentally spawn more Guillae. More live Guillae?" demanded Darrian.
"When the humans do, we will wait and watch to see what happens. This could prove to be an exciting learning opportunity."
Start at the Beginning