"Well?" demanded Uu'lassna. "Are they a threat or not? Are we dealing with a hostile species?"
The old judge turned his attention to Uu'lassna and looked back and forth at the different participants of the Consortium before letting out a long sigh. Darrian couldn't help but wonder if this was something the old robot had been programmed to do or had learned over the years.
"They are, without a doubt, a threat."
"What makes you say that?" asked the Yool.
"Unfortunately, they have shown paramount hostility not only to the species of flora and fauna that inhabit the planet, but to their own species as well."
"Their own species?"
"Right. Over the course of the rotations that we've been able to observe, there have been hundreds, if not thousands of continually escalating conflicts. We've been attempting to understand the basis for these conflicts but have not come to any educated conclusions. Even more frightening is that as their technology advances, so too does the level of destruction, without any real recognition at the damage they're doing."
"Surely there's some reason for this constant in-fighting." Darrian wondered out loud.
"The best guesses we've come up with so far are both too idiotic to really accept as fact. The first has to do with disagreements over fictional characters created earlier in the civilizations. It would seem that some groups think these characters are more important than others and actively kill each other in the name of that character."
"That's lunacy..." the Jigger observed with a hint of horror in his voice.
"It gets better. The other 'reason' that we've identified seems to be on the basis that they believe they are not one species."
"You heard me. For some reason, a large number of them believe that they are different species on the basis of things like mating preference and even flesh pigmentation. They take it so far as to enslave, punish, and murder each other under the presumption that they are somehow separate from each other despite being such superficial differences.
For one of the first times in the meeting, Darrian could clearly hear whispers and quiet debate. They had never heard of a self-destructive species becoming space-faring. It simply never happened. Either a species eliminated themselves or they evolved past the need for destruction and focused their goals on the stars as a single unit. And yet, here they were with such unabashed aggression and somehow they had reached space.
"Hold on. Perhaps this was some kind of accident? Maybe they have space faring technologies but it was just coincidental. They aren't aimed at space travel."
"A welcome thought." remarked the judge. "But you'd be wrong."
Darrian's heart sunk.
"Actually, it was a competition."
"A competition? The ability to escape to the stars and explore the universe was somehow made into a competition?" asked a Gorderian who looked legitimately disgusted.
"Quite right. Several groups around the planet were racing and even sabotaging each other to see who could reach their moon quickest. In fact, that brings us to the only good news we might have for today."
"Once one of the groups managed to reach the moon, their desire to explore the stars seemingly diminished. While some groups continued to work, the race being 'over' seemed to quench many desires to leave the planet's orbit."
"So it's possible they might not leave their planet at all?!" the Cadrax asked with a little bit too much enthusiasm.
He was met with many nods and agreements. It would seem that the entire Consortium was in favor of not having these warmongers joining them anytime soon.
"It's...possible." the old judge agreed slowly. "For the moment they seem content to litter their atmosphere with satellites and war with each other."
"You don't sound convinced it will stay that way." Darrian added.
The old judge simply shook his head. This was met with a collective sigh and many sidelong glances around the table.
"I suppose that brings us back to the original point of our meeting. What do we going to do about it?"
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