"Clearly the only thing we can do is eliminate them before they become a threat to the entire galactic community." stated one of the Tulgucks with a disturbing coolness.
The attention of the entire table was instantly turned towards him.
"You're talking about genocide." the old judge retorted with an edge of warning in his voice. "And last I checked, that wasn't even on the table."
"Who are you to even suggest such a thing?" snapped Darrian. He couldn't deny the fear that these humans set in him, but the thought of simply killing them all...
"My name is Guor-a and, when I'm not listening to galactic monster stories, I'm the high Maister of the Tulguck Armada."
That explains it. thought Darrian.
The Tulgucks were one of two races that were regularly on thin ice in the Galactic Consortium. The other being the Gorderians. Both were a younger species, newer in the Consortium, and still felt the need to maintain regular defense forces. They had been regularly encouraged to decommission the majority of their fleets but neither were ever actively forced to since galactic conflict was practically extinct at this day and age.
"These creatures. These humans. They're showing all of the viciousness of another Krellan empire. Or am I the only one who remembers them? I don't know how you were even entertaining the idea of quarantine initially. We need to deal with them before they gain a foothold in the galaxy."
Darrian started to feel sick, but for a new reason. The other Tulgucks wore a stoic stare and nodded as Guor-a spoke. Likewise, several more members around the table, including all of the Gorderians, also seemed to be agreeing with him on this.
"W-w-we can't do that." shuddered the Cadrax. "It wouldn't even be a war. It'd be a slaughter."
"Exactly." replied Guor-a
"Now wait." demanded the Jigger. "It's not like the Tulgucks started off on the best footing, but you were allowed time to learn the way of the universe. Could you imagine if we had reacted so brashly?"
"We would have responded in turn. And besides, could you imagine if you had reacted to the Krellan's quickly enough? We'd still have the Iqru and the Logast joining us for this meeting."
"The Krellan were a long standing member of the Consortium and had the ability to fight back. Whether we agreed with them or not, they had a right to life. If you were to bring the might of your Aramada down on the human planet you'd be erasing a species before it's time comes."
"Actually, it sounds like their time came and went already."
"ENOUGH." the old judge snapped. "As of currently, we have a grand total of a twentieth of a rotation of on-planet observation. A TWENTIETH! This is combined with another twelve rotations worth of long range data that needs to be corroborated. We cannot destroy a species on so little evidence."
Guor-a snapped up and glared at the old judge. The robot glared right back. Darrian thought he could practically feel the tension in the air.
"Hold on!" snapped one of the Gorderians. "It's not your place to tell us what we can and can't do. We didn't build you, that was the Merrinians. If they want to listen to a robot, that's their choice but we'll vote on what we want to do!"
There were a number of cheers from around the table and Darrian felt himself sinking back into his spot. The judge was looking back and forth around the table, clearly battling with the decision.
"Fine. We will vote." he finally said.
"But..." the judge's gaze turned towards Guor-a. "All members of the Consortium will obey the decision."
Guor-a simply nodded in agreement but said nothing more.
"Alright then. By a show of support." the judge said.
"All those in favor of Interaction?"
"All those in favor of Extermination."
There were several grunts of assent and datapads lit up around the table. Darrian was surprised at the sheer number.
"And those in favor of Quarantine?"
Darrian tapped his own datapad and watched it light up with a large number of others around the table.
"It's settled than. Quarantine will be instated due to a vote of 53% compared to 47% for Extermination."
Guor-a growled and immediately stomped out of the room, the other Tulgucks in tow behind him. The Gorderians quickly followed along with a scattering of others. Darrian couldn't help but feel relieved that they hadn't just condemned a brand new species to death.
"The species will be Quarantined until further notice." stated the old judge. "For the time being, however, we will be assigning a group to maintain constant vigil and assess the galactic risk that they might pose. Should something be discovered that might tip the scales, we shall reconvene. You are dismissed."
Start at the Beginning