“WHAT THE HELL IS THIS ABOUT?!” bellowed Juag-e as he stormed through the council doors.
Most of the counselors who had already gathered for the message briefing were too surprised to respond. A’alan’t 32, however, had no such issue.
“If you read the message,” she said in her normal quiet, cool tone. “You’d know it was regarding humans attempting to colonize Mars.”
“Of course I read the message!” snapped Juag-e, his eyes wide and his teeth bared. “How in the hell are they already attempting to colonize another planet?!”
A’alan’t 32 simply shrugged and settled at her place at the table. Darrian thought this only made Juag-e more upset. He watched the little Tulguck’s scales actively hackle and his eyes follow A’alan’t 32 threateningly.
“I’ll remind you,” said the old judge warningly, “we will not have this manner of disrespect in a council meeting.”
Juag-e glowered at the robot for a minute, seemingly debating if he should pursue the matter further. The old judge matched his gaze. Neither looked away for several tense moments.
Finally, Juag-e gave up.
Juag-e was still hackled, but he houghed loudly and made his way to his place at the table where he buried his face in his datapad. Nothing else was said as the remainder of the counselors made their way into the room.
A moment later, they were all settled in.
“Can someone explain how we are having this meeting right now?” demanded Cagool.
“Well, first we came into a room…” started Ferris.
“No!” Juag-e shouted, cutting off what was sure to be an incredibly sarcastic explanation. “Now is not the time for that! It’s been a total of twenty-nine cycles since the humans launched their first Mars-bound craft. TWENTY-NINE!”
“Right.” Agreed Cagool. “How are they talking about colonization already?Did I miss a rotation or two?”
“You’ve missed nothing.” Confirmed the old judge.
Cherryl cleared her throat before standing up next to the judge.
“C-correct.” She said with a little nod. “The humans have already decided to try their hands at colonization.”
“But they’ve only been to the planet a few times…” said Ugul in confusion.
“Twice, actually.” Agreed Cherryl.
“And their technology… It’s so…primitive.”
“You’re not wrong.” She said as she started typing something on her datapad.
“I’m sensing a ‘but’.” Said Darrian.
“But, if any species…” started Cherryl before she was suddenly cut off by Illiquina.
“But if any species was suicidal enough to try it, it would seem to be humans.” Illiquina said coolly.
The old judge flashed her a warning glance.
“I mean it in the most complementary way.” She said with a playful tone to the judge.
“Right.” Said Cherryl, starting again. “With that said…”
She didn’t get to say more before she was cut off again. This time, it was by Jin’thun.
“Is that what it’s come down to then? We’re complementing these monsters?” he growled.
“Jin’thun!” gasped Cherryl.
“What?” he snapped at her obvious discomfort. “Have I been the only one listening to what’s been said? This is just another obvious facet of this species’ deficiencies.”
“For trying to colonize Mars?” inquired Darrian with just a hint of disgust.
“For trying to do it almost as soon as they’ve touched Mars dirt! It’s reckless abandon!”
“Or perhaps it’s simply fervor.” Said Ugul. “Excitement.”
“Fervor?!” snapped Juag-e. “Jin’thun is right! Is it considered fervor when a virus is contagious? When it hops from host to host as fast as possible without care for who or what harm it does.”
“Now hold on.” Said Illiquina.
“No! We said that this species reminded us of a plague early on and it seems that the similarities just keep coming.”
“Why are we even bothering with these meetings?” He demanded. “All we do is talk. It hasn’t even been a twentieth of a rotation and this species has already attempted and succeeded at interplanetary travel. Now they’re attempting to colonize just as quickly! All while they are so violent that they literally slaughter each other in droves back on their home planet!”
“How long do you give them before these monsters are on a door step? Before they achieve deep space flight and bring their violence to us?!”
Even the old judge was left speechless as they watched Juag-e’s explosion. Jin’thun had been mad but it was clear that Juag-e was furious. No one knew how to respond to the outburst.
“Go ahead.” Juag-e growled, his scales standing on end. “Keep talking. That’s all we’ve ever done about the humans. See how good that does you when they come knocking down your door.”
With that, Juag-e stormed back out of the council room. Jin’thun seemed to consider for a moment and then quickly followed after the Tulguck. Expectantly, the remaining counselors glanced at Cagool.
“Don’t look at me.” He said in his usual stand-offish nature. “That was all them.”
The remainder of the meeting was tense but proved less eventful than the beginning. The council reviewed the spacecraft and number of humans who were traveling on what the humans openly called a ‘one way trip to Mars’. They discussed the likelihood of survival and what the trip might mean for human technologies. One constant question revolved around if they would find any remains from the Guillae population that had been there before.
No one dared talk about what Juag-e’s outburst might mean for Consortium or the human population. They didn’t want to think about it, but the fear of what to come hung thick in the room. It followed Darrian back to his office and wouldn’t leave his thoughts for several cycles.
Start at the Beginning