Darrian couldn't believe the number of people before him. He couldn't think of anytime he'd ever seen so many different souls in the counsel chambers, particularly of so many different species from around the galaxy.
While the initial discussion about the "humans" and their planet had surprised him, it was how the Galactic Consortium responded that made him realize something was truly amiss. At any given time, the Consortium could take as long as one tenth solar cycles to arrange and host a hearing regarding a new space faring species. This new one was arranged within five rotations.
Now, standing at the precipice of the room, he felt himself go numb with shock by the size of the turnout with such little warning.
He could see ambassadors for the Gorderians and Tulguks already waiting at the counsel tables while a massive Jigger was doing what he could to get settled. A small group of Urreaneans and Kaeel were floating several feet off the ground, discussing something in the back corner of the room. The old judge and several other Merrinians were trying to help a gaggle of Yool, Bivvie, and Cadrax to their own seats. And those were just the species Darrian could readily recognize.
"Alright, alright!" the judge called angrily, his robotic voicebox amplifying tenfold over the rabble. "Let's get this meeting underway. I know we're missing some people but we've waited long enough."
The next fifteen minutes was a barely contained riot of activity as everyone did what they could to get to their assigned seats. Darrian was jostled several times before he could get settled and even got accidentally slimed by a passing Yool.
"We're here to discuss the potential of quarantine for planet AV32784 along with reports of a species that might be acquiring space faring technology kno..."
"EXCUSE ME!" yelled a creature at the far end of the table. Darrian didn't recognize the species but he thought it might but an Olgan?
Ambassador Uu'lassna of Planet Olanta 23 has the floor spoke a robotic voice that Darrian had never heard in the regular counsel meetings.
"Yes, Uu'lassna?" asked the judge, looking quite displeased to be interrupted.
"We seem to have a mismatch in data. You're claiming that this species is developing space faring technologies, yet they don't seem like they're capable of flipping a switch."
A confused babble of discussion and questions broke out around the table.
"I'm not sure I understand Uu'lassna. Our Merrinian analyst team has clearly identified space faring technologies." the judge said, looking perplexed.
Uu'lassna tapped a few buttons on the console nearest to him and the holographic imager gave birth to an image of scales and feathers and claws and teeth. A massive beast not greatly dissimilar to a carnivorous lizard species in the Ijulen system, but drastically larger and more terrifying looking. It stood on two legs and was in the process of tearing apart another scaled creature limb from limb in a horrific display of savage violence.
"These images were captured just after you sent out the announcement about this planet. These beasts might look terrifying, but I doubt they can fly."
The judge said nothing initially but instead responded with a secondary image of his own. This time of a primitive looking urban area made of stone and metal with mechanized transports zipping about on roadways. A number of bipedal creatures, strangely smooth and weak looking, lacking any obvious natural decoration or defenses, meandered about the sides of the roads.
"These were also captured during that time period." the judge said with annoyance. "Now tell me, what kind of imaging technology was utilized?"
"Lightcore telescopic lenses, of course." Uu'lassna said with a colorful photochromatic display under his mouth. Not readily knowing the species, Darrian could only presume this was some kind of show of pride.
A number of the other ambassadors trying to contain their snickers.
"Ambassador. Your planet is 67,000 light cycle from AV32784. While LTL scopes might be useful for something relatively nearby your planet, you are viewing images that are 67,000 cycles old! Even worse, the solar rotation is drastically intensified for that planet, so the images in question are something in the range of 67,000,000 rotations old!"
The judge was clearly livid at being interrupted, particularly with such an impudent mistake. The other ambassadors couldn't contain themselves any longer and began to openly laugh. Uu'lassna sunk back and turned several shades of blue.
"Now, before I continue, does anyone else have anymore terrible lizards that they want to show us or can we get back to the topic at hand?"
Darrian resisted the urge to request more pictures.
"Good." he growled out. "Let's begin..."
Start at the Beginning