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Invasive (1 Viewer)


WF Veterans
The scaly being in the center of the group hissed roughly as it inhaled deeply. It lifted it’s clawed hand to it’s face, slowly and deliberately. A nail gently caressed the scales above the being’s large, grey eyes. Those eyes scanned the other beings around it. The group formed a crescent centered on an ethereal glow in the middle of the room.

Aside from a low pulsing vibration in the room, there was no sound. The white glow in the center dimly illuminated all the being’s expressionless, flat faces.
The being in the middle opened his mouth, and it’s forked tongue flicked quickly, shining smooth and moist in the room’s diffuse glow.
“The quorum is established. Arbiter, who are the principals?”

A smaller lizard being (of about 2 meters) stepped forward from the crescent, it’s tail flicking somewhat nervously as it left the small group.
“My Sage, there are two Primaries in this action.” As the Arbiter spoke, the glow in the center of the room intensified, and a projection appeared above them. “The first is a species of amphibians. They call themselves Xotha.”

The 3D image of a smooth pinkish creature appeared. Text scrolled quickly next to the image as the Arbiter continued.
“As you can see, their culture is pre-industrial, with a loose family-based social structure. They are above-average intelligence, based on the Prion 5B scale, not expansionist nor aggressive.”

The Sage shuffled, leaned forward and hissed again before speaking.
“These Xotha look weak, vulnerable. How did they become the dominate species on their planet?”

“Well,” The Arbiter continued, “these amphibians are very adaptable. Their historical records, along with our observations, indicate that they have an innate ability and desire for cooperation and co-existence. They never felt the need to dominate nor destroy any other species, even with the ability to do so. They simply never learned such skills.”

“Had they no predators?”
“They had. However, they quickly learned to control them easily over the years. Then, they actually trained their former adversaries to hunt for them. What used to eat them, now feeds them. On occasion, that is. The Xotha are primarily herbivores. It is a more balanced, sustainable lifestyle, that is in-line with their societal temperament.”

“Interesting,” The Sage opined, “but let’s move on to the data relevant to case at hand.”

“Of course, my Sage.”
The Arbiter twisted his claw, and a number of images splashed above them in quick secession, along with accompanying text.
“These creatures have developed rudimentary optical devices, and are experimenting with electromagnetic, low bandwidth communication devices. They do not have the ability to transmit beyond their planet, but very soon they will be able to receive transmissions from nearby civilizations.”

A faint murmur buzzed in the group. The Sage raised his claw, and the Arbiter continued.
“This brings us to our second Principal in this matter. Many of us have been studying this species for eons, with interest, as well as concern…”

The Sage hissed, “Humans.”

The arbiter lifted his claw, and the image of an upright biped with radial symmetry appeared.
“Mammalian, primate,” he began, “very rapid evolutionary path.”

The Sage motioned to one of the member of the council. The lizard being stepped forward and bowed.

“My Sage, repeated and thorough investigations have found no evidence of external contamination with this species evolution. Although it is possible that they were visited during their antiquity by rouge elements outside of the Concordium, there are no indicators that their societal path was altered in any appreciable manner.”

The council-being stepped back into the group, while the Arbiter continued.
“The exploits of this species are the subject of numerous anthropological studies throughout the Concordium, as well within the Independent World’s academia.”

The Arbiter began to pace, looking into the faces of the council, as his tail swished slowly. He then turned his attention back to The Sage.
“They are one of the only species we have ever encountered that has reached this level of sophistication, with such barbarous instincts. Most every other aggressive, conflict-based society has extinguished itself long before we are forced notice. Now, these clever simians should be capable of faster-than-light travel in a very short time.”

The Arbiter stared intently at The Sage. The Arbiter’s eyes glistened as his pupils grew in size.
“The closest inhabited system to the Humans is the homeworld of the Xotha. Based on every probable scenario and projection considered by our Harmony coven, there are no objectively “good” outcomes. I oversaw the outsourcing of probability trials to a number of Free World academics and statisticians, for rigor. Not one could predict an equitable outcome.”

“Explain the projections,” The Sage demanded.

“Since the Xotha are technologically inferior in almost every respect, any contact initiated by the Humans will be at the Human’s pace, intensity and discretion. Or lack thereof. While we do not predict an open conflict nor indiscriminate violence when the Principals meet, the Coven predicts with reasonable certainty that the Xotha culture itself will cease to exist. At least, in any tangible form.
“The Humans act in this manner so frequently, with their own people, they have developed a term for such actions. They call it “Cultural Genocide.”

The Arbiter pointed above his head with two clawed fingers, and images from Earth’s history began to scroll. Again, the room was silent except for the faint background hum. No one hissed, or flicked a tail. The Sage and the members of The Council watched intently, all eyes scanning the images in silent contemplation.
“They are primarily tribal, and expansionist,” The Arbiter explained. “They have neither the ability nor temperament for peaceful coexistence. They kill one another not just for resources, but in disputes over governance and spiritual matters. The Humans have brief periods without conflict, but otherwise are fully occupied in war making and subjugation.”

“How are they not all dead?!” The Sage bellowed, incredulously. “And have we not an analogous culture to use as a reference? In the Cosmos, we must have encountered a similar species…”

“Only after the fact, My Sage.” The Arbiter explained. “In our vast survey of the Cosmos, no other civilization with this social profile has ever made it past this point…”

“So, it appears as if our dilemma may solve itself.”

“It would appear so, My Sage, but there are some subtle, but important outlying factors within this species,” The Arbiter explained “Although I cannot easily quantify these traits that the Humans possess, they do have them. Despite being aggressive, immature and barbaric, they are also thoughtful, considerate and…” He stumbled through the last word, it’s irony too thick to flow smoothly from his grey, scaly lips. “…and they are kind. Not often, and not with any regularity, but they do show kindness…”

“I will remind you, Arbiter, as well as the rest of the council, what our duty in this coven is. We protect those that cannot protect themselves.” The Sage lowered his voice, then continued, “We cannot rely on the ‘kindness’ of these Humans when interacting with a vulnerable neighboring species. We have a process. It has served the peace of The Concordium, and all the developed Cosmos for ages.” He gazed sternly at The Arbiter, “I need to hear our options. All of them.”

“Threat nullification through sterilization,” The Arbiter blurted, “that is always Option One. Option Two would be a culling. A projected 95 to 98% reduction would neutralize the Human species threat of contamination for at least a millennia, possibly longer…”

“And then we will be right back to this decision point,” The Sage huffed, frustrated, “Surely, the Xotha will have advanced by then, but what of the Cranthi and the HoL’lal? They are also nearby in this region of the galaxy. These Humans are predatory…”

“By your leave, My Sage, if I many continue with the council’s Options? My gratitude for your indulgence. Option Three involves using gravimetric lenses, electromagnetic shielding and optical projectors to ‘hide’ the Xotha…”

“Again, postpones, but does not solve the problem. Unless the Council has a workable, functional solution, I see no other course but to order an Option One…”

“Please!” The Arbiter blurted, then immediately lowered his head, “please, please excuse my imprudence, but there may be another, less orthodox option.”

The Sage stepped forward, toward The Arbiter. He crossed his arms, and leaned forward ever so slightly.
“I am lisssstening.”

The Arbiter operated a control on a small box attached to his waist. A new series of images, text and data streams scrolled overhead. The council and The Sage began perusing the information.
“What you are looking at,” The Arbiter explained, “is the aggregate data and projections from all the outlying probabilities. While interspecies conflict is still a highly probable outcome, it its most definitely not a certainty. Although there are a number of tangents and variations on the outcome, there is a consistent, low probability result that spans every scenario…”

“Go on.”

“The Xotha will ‘tame’ the humans.”

“I, and the council, have no time for such nonsense…”

“The socio-tech parabola indicates this as a low probability, but it is indicated.” The Arbiter continued, “Consider the aforementioned predator of the early Xotha. It is called a Zhi. It is fast, large, and also possesses high level reasoning for a non-sentient species. When threatened, the Xotha had options. Instead of avoiding or engaging in conflict, they found a way to redirect and refocus the energies of the Zhi. Throughout our anthropological studies of the Xotha, we have found them to be masters of this form of conflict management.”

A member of the council stepped forward, waving his claw, opening a secondary display.
“As the lead on Psyop research, I found this both interesting and relevant.” The Scientist added, “The Xotha species score in the top quintile of sentient cultures in projection of consciousness energies. They are highly persuasive and empathetic. Their zeta wave generation can help them sense quantum fluctuations and predict outcomes, in some ways better than our mechanical contrivances.”

“Your point, Scientist…”

“The Xotha should have little difficulty manipulating, misdirecting and eventually controlling the Humans. Using the Human’s strengths against them.”

“I am not comfortable with the low probability of a positive outcome, given the available data,” The Sage spoke, in a low but firm voice, “The Humans are a menace. They may leave the Xotha alone, but they will spread like a disease…”

“Perhaps not,” The Arbiter interjected. “It is entirely likely that the Xotha will not only ‘tame’ the Humans, but ‘train’ them as well. Just as the Xotha did with their Zhi. The Human’s strengths: Their drive, curiosity and passion, can be focused and used harmoniously by both species.”

“Symbiosis.” The Scientist opined.

“Yes. The Human’s technological superiority and the Xotha’s innate chrono-spatial management may work well together.” The Arbiter continued. “The Humans protect and explore for the Xotha, while the Xotha help the Humans grow and adapt to a Cosmos that they are clearly not ready for.”

“I am still not convinced. We can protect the Xotha. The Humans are a dangerous, unpredictable variable.”

“I beg to differ, My Sage, but the Xotha NEED the Humans. To further develop their skills, they need to be challenged. What a better challenge that to tame a violent child-race like the Humans? “ The Arbiter pulled up another set of projections, pointing them out to The Sage. “Do you see this? These are our Harmony operations, just in this sector. We are successfully managing and diffusing conflicts, but our resources are stretched thin.”

All in the room stood in silent contemplation for a moment. The corners of The Sage’s mouth lifted ever so slightly.

“So, how soon before The Xotha will be advanced and developed enough to contribute to the Concordium’s peacekeeping efforts?”

“Very soon, actually. A few centuries, maybe a millennia at the most. Regardless, contact with the Humans will be vital first step at helping the Xotha hone their skills, and shoulder their duties as citizens of the Concordium.”

The members of the council murmured amongst themselves and nodded their heads in agreement.

“I find that a stay-in-action is in order,” The Sage decreed, “and we shall revisit this issue in five cycle’s time. Or sooner, should circumstances dictate. Be Well, Do Well."

A low, rumbling hiss emanated from all beings in the room, in unison. Soon after, a lizard being stepped into the room carrying a tray with large, fluted beverage glasses. Members of the council broke into small groups, drinking and conversing. The Sage walked up to The Arbiter, handing him a beverage.
“I must ask you one thing,” The Sage queried, “The Concordium will gain one, possibly two new members. Those members will have the chance to grow in peace and thrive within the Cosmic Community. But what of us, Arbiter? What do WE gain? Conflict avoidance? Enforced peace? What is our purpose? Can we not simply program an artificial intelligence to deal with these unpleasantries? It is all so tedious. We never have such problems with saurian civilizations”

“My Sage, it is not what we gain, but what we give. You would have been within your statutory duties to enforce a Prime Option. You did not. You gave two societies a chance. One deserved it, one did not. They will both be better for it. WE will be better for it. Not just in tangible ways.” The Arbiter met the gaze of The Sage, unblinking, “The Humans might call such actions ‘kindness’.”

The Sage gently patted The Arbiter on the back, nodding in agreement.
“Of course.”

A short while later, The Sage motions The Scientist to the side of the room, away from the group. They stand there for a moment, then The Sage speaks to him in a low, conversational tone.
“Scientist, I must ask you a few questions, to bring this matter to a close today.”

The scientist nodded an acknowledgement, slowly sipping his drink.

“What Option One and Option Two devices do we have in this sector, just in case we need them?”

“Well My Sage, Option One material includes both antimatter detonators and micro singularity generators. Option Two devices are mainly bio-pathogen delivery vehicles that can target the Primary species, not impacting the remaining planetary ecosystem.”

“I read your report. It was very thorough. Make sure the bio delivery devices have some of that respiratory agent available. The one with the spike protein appears very effective. Just as a contingency, of coursssssssse.”