“What can we do?” asked Ugul with a look of some distress.
Before the judge had a chance to answer, Darrian cut in.
“More to the point, should we do anything about it at all?” he inquired, looking from face to face at the table.
“What do you mean by that?” shot back Juag-e.
“Well, the Consortium voted on quarantine. Unless I misunderstood the meaning of the word, doesn’t that mean we shouldn’t be interacting with them ever?”
“He’s right.” Added Ferris quickly. “I thought that’s the whole reason for the analytics team. To keep an eye on them but not interfere.”
Juag-e was actively bristling but didn’t say anything in response. However he didn’t need to. Jin’thun, the Gorderian at his side who had been silent for the entire meeting, snapped back at Ferris.
“We were keeping an eye on them because we don’t know what those oxygen-breathers will do if they achieve deep space flight.” Growled Jin’thun.
“You’re completely correct.” agreed the old judge with a small nod. “But to Ferris’s point, that does not necessarily require our intervention.”
“How can you say that?!” barked Juag-e. “How can you really expect we should just sit here and do nothing?!”
There was no response. Not right away. Darrian was conflicted. On the one hand, quarantine meant letting them be and if they presented an active threat to the galactic community revisiting the topic with the Consortium. On the other, he couldn’t argue that the idea of the humans achieving interplanetary travel was disconcerting.
“This isn’t a war-room.” A’alan’t 32 stated with a quiet fierceness.
Juag-e and Jin’thun both looked like they were going to explode at their fellow counselor when the old judge snapped.
“ENOUGH!” he bellowed.
“When I asked what we were going to do about them,” he stated in a low tone, “I clearly need to define what the purpose of these analytics review meetings will entail.”
“As has been made abundantly clear, this species is quarantined. That means there will be no interaction with them from any Consortium species,” he continued, throwing a threateningly glance towards Juag-e and Jin’thun. “With the exception of the analytics team. Instead, your purpose will be to review any priority message to determine whether it readily presents a danger to the galactic community.”
“If it does, we need to gather the information and present it to the Consortium. If it does not, than we will not interfere. Or have you forgotten the briefing you were given when you were granted this position?”
For a few moments, no one dared do anything more than glance at each other. Most of the counselors looked surprised and maybe even a little embarrassed. Darrian certainly felt ashamed to have had the old judge snap so harshly. Cagool, Juag-e, and Jin’thun, however, all wore similar expressions of annoyance and distaste.
“Fine.” Growled Jin’thun finally. “Then what do you want from us?”
“I want you to do your jobs.” Responded the old judge with a cold tone. “You will review all of the analytics data that has been forwarded to us from team on Earth and determine if this mission to Mars is any potential threat to the galactic community.”
A moment later, a number of files appeared on Darrian’s datapad.
“Review. Discuss. Decide.” Said the old judge. “And unless they are threat, maintain the quarantine.”
Darrian and a few of the other counselors started opening their respective files and queuing up data. Illiquina was already in the process of throwing up a recording of the human’s reusable rocket tests for the Mars excursions.
“It’s not like we’d have time to do anything anyway.” Grumbled Cagool a little too loudly. “Three to six cycles…”
“Good thing that’s not your problem.” Responded Ferris snidely.
A few dirty glances were exchanged, but luckily it ended there. The next while was spent pouring over the data that the analytics team had sent them. Everything from technologic assets and likelihood of success to obvious motivations for the Mars missions and what humans might do while they were there.
In the end, despite three counselors arguing vehemently against it, it was concluded that the humans’ trip to their neighboring planet was no threat.
By the next cycle, warnings were sent through deep space channels to warn away any and all crafts or individuals that might be in the vicinity of Mars or in the path from Mars to Earth. By the time the Mars missions were gone, even exploratory science teams were light-rotations away.
The council could rest easy that the humans would not encounter anyone in their travels.
Start at the Beginning