“Mars?” Darrian asked.
“Right. We believe it was named after one of the fictional characters that the humans have killed each other over.” responded Cherryl.
“So what’s its actual name, then?” inquired Cagool, the Yool ambassador.
There were a few sidelong glances and a look of distaste from some of the politicians. It was rarely considered acceptable to simply dismiss another race’s opinion during open discussion. Even something as simple as a name for a planet deserved respect. Unless there was a population on “Mars” currently, the human name should have sufficed for it. To simply dismiss it was to act as though the species wasn’t sentient and didn’t deserve consideration.
Apparently, this convention was lost on Cagool. Whether he didn’t care or didn’t realize it, he seemed to ignore the uncomfortable silence.
“Well. The planet’s p-previous name was Muspel II.” Stammered Cherryl, obviously nervous and trying to maintain respect towards the humans naming conventions. “It was one of two planets in the system that the Guillae had populated.”
“Had?” emphasized Ferris.
Cherryl nodded in response. “Correct. The Guillae used up the majority of the natural materials on the planet and vacated once the atmosphere began to dissolve.”
“Back up.” said Darrian. “Who are these Guillae? I’ve never heard of them. For that matter, if AV32- sorry. Earth. If Earth is part of this Muspel system, then why didn’t we know about it previously?”
“The Guillae are a species of floramorphic hybrids. They have a tendency of wandering galaxies and sending a large spore filled with their ‘colonists’ to any planet they deem useful.” The old judge rattled off.
“Floramorphic?” asked Darrian.
“Plant people.” whispered Ferris.
“Once they land, the Guillae tend to be both a blessing and a curse. Their cities and technologies are all biologically based. No mechanics of any kind to speak of. Because of this, every part of their society tends to blend with the given planet and give birth to a host of new life. The planets tend to flourish for a few rotations, at which time the noxious gasses that the Guillae naturally give off have done their damage. The atmosphere tends to burn off and the Guillae take off for other planets elsewhere.”
“That sounds horrible.” said Illiquina with a shudder.
The old judge nodded his agreement.
“Many people in the scientific community tend to have mixed emotions about the Guillae. On the one hand, their very presence on a planet can do fantastic things. They promote untold numbers of species to come to fruition during their time on a planet. However, because of their genetic makeup, the Guillae tend to do permanent damage to any world that hosts them. Mars is just such an example.”
"A telltale sign that the Guillae have been there is the landscape tends to take on a reddish hue of rust. It has something to do with the gasses the put off."
“So what was Mars like?” asked A’alan’t 32, the rather quiet Bivvie representative.
Darrian couldn’t help but smile as he realized that both A’alan’t 32 and the old judge were outright ignoring Cagool’s rudeness earlier by using "Mars" as the planet's name. On top of that, the Yool definitely was taking notice as he was sitting there looking rather annoyed.
“Actually, Earth and Mars weren’t unlike each other in overall design.” stated the old judge.
The holographic imager in the middle of the table gave birth to a spherical planet that was indeed very similar to the planet the humans occupied. It was covered in giant splotches of greens and blue with speckled browns and reds here and there.
“Is that water?” asked Darrian in surprise as he stared at the image.
“Yes, it is.” responded the judge. “Much like many species in the galaxies, a plentiful water source is what drives the Guillae to populate new worlds.”
“It’s quite pretty.” Observed Ugul.
“I must agree.” said the old judge. “At least until the Guillae showed up.”
To Darrian’s surprise, he watched the image before him morph and change. He watched as a sudden green spot appeared in one of the planet’s oceans. Perhaps the spore the judge spoke of? It began to boil and spread green through the waters until it reached land. There, rich emeralds seemed to entangle and overtake the verdant hues that had already been present.
“As you can see, the introduction of a Guillae spore can have truly amazing effects…”
As they continued to watch, the entire planet soon completely turned a rich emerald green. All of the browns, reds, and blues seemed to fade away. For a moment, the planet simply rotated there like a spherical green gem. Then, without warning, speckles of dusty red appeared and spread with frightening speed. Within seconds, the entire planet was the heavy red of rusted iron.
“…as well as devastating.” finished the old judge.
“These observations were taken over the course of seven rotations and occurred thirty two rotations ago.” added Cherryl.
“That’s all well and good, but I have to agree with Darrian.” said Juag-e with obvious tension. “Why the hell haven’t I heard of this species before now?”
“The Guillae are a nomadic race.” stated the old judge. “They come to a planet, use it up, and leave it a rotted, rusted husk of what it once was. While the species is sentient, they don’t seem to operate with the same drives or capacities of other civilizations.”
“Frankly. They’re too alien.” he said with a hint of disgust.
Darrian felt a tinge of surprise. It was rare to call any species alien. In a galaxy filled with so many different types of life, singling one out as an “other” was bizarre.
“As such,” continued the old judge, “The Consortium made agreements with the Guillae some fifty rotations back that they would not bother each other. The Guillae can continue to wander out further and further away from us and none of our planets are at risk from their colonization. In exchange, the Guillae can do as they will without Consortium interference.”
There was a long moment of eerie silence. Darrian couldn’t help but feel nervous thinking about these Guillae. While the humans were erratic and warlike, monsters by many descriptions, they were still frighteningly young with the potential for growth. They still had time to grow into something better. This other species,however, was so different and almost accidentally dangerous that the Consortium did not bring them into the fold but rather insisted they not even engage within their sphere of control.
He couldn’t decide which was more unsettling.
“While I'm sure we all appreciate the monster story,” said Ferris. “I think we have gotten a little off topic.”
“R-right.” Cherryl said with another little nod.
“What are we going to do about humans attempting to reach Mars?” asked the judge.
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