Galorg stands patiently in line. There are quite a few others ahead of them, it looks like they’re going to be waiting for a while. But that’s ok. Galorg is accustomed to waiting. It’s part of the job, after all – waiting and watching.
Waiting and watching; that seems to be most of Galorg’s life recently. Overall, it doesn’t bother Galorg. They’re content, the job’s satisfying, life is good.
It’s reporting to the High Council of Intergalactic Species Relations, the HCISR, that is never a speedy process. And so, over time, after many Galactic Standard Years on the job, Galorg has become accustomed to waiting. And watching.
However, before Galorg can file this current report, they need to get through Customs at the Transit Depot. And so, like the many others in the Transit Depot, they wait.
Galorg doesn’t want to rush the Customs Officers, but they’re anxious to get to HCISR headquarters to make their report. This report is the first negative one Galorg has had to make in quite a long time, and it’s causing a gnawing sensation in their gullet. Galorg is very uneasy; and the uneasy feeling is making Galorg unusually impatient.
Something about the visit to TriSol of the Galaxias Galaxy has left an impression on Galorg’s psyche. There’s something sad about what they have to report, but Galorg can’t quite pinpoint why they feel this way. It’s not like every civilization that’s found to be interstellar travel ready, is actually ready for interstellar travel. Sometimes the beings just aren’t ready to meet new intergalactic beings. Galorg hasn’t had to make many reports against first contact, but there have been a few. So why does this one upset them so?
Slowly the line shuffles forward. Some beings glide ahead on their tentacles, pods, or falange. A few paws pad along softly. Claws click clack on the hard, slick, Xatheon marble floors. One or two beings silently levitate to their new positions in line. Galorg steps forward a few paces and adjusts the bag on their shoulder.
Just four places ahead of Galorg, an Asthlintiar is undulating like a giant slug of Yandia. Asthlintiars hate being compared to slugs. But Galorg, like most beings, can’t help comparing them to slugs; mostly because they are giant slugs. They’re sentient, intelligent, and very thoughtful beings, but from a genetic and biomechanical standpoint, they are giant slugs.
Galorg smiles. The thought of the first report on Asthlintia to the High Council makes Galorg chuckle. They’ll have to look that report up the next time they’re in the Indexium. They always enjoy reading the older reports about the more unique planets and beings. Those first reports, when there were just a few planets “reviewing” them, are full of antiquated beliefs and scientific theories that have since been proven false – like the belief that no intelligent beings could live in anything but a methane based atmosphere!
As more and more species took to interstellar, and then intergalactic, travel, the number of species traveling between worlds multiplied so quickly, it wasn’t long before those first few planets created the High Council of Intergalactic Species Relations. That was almost 500 Galactic Standard Years ago; the first HCISR only consisted of 42 species, but now there were closer to 400 species on the roster.
The line moves again. It’s Galorg’s turn. They step up to the window and wearily drop their bag on the floor. The contents clang loudly, suspiciously, in the oddly quiet space.
“How can a depot with so many beings be so quiet?” Galorg wonders. Galorg reaches into the pocket of their outer garment and pulls out their required paperwork – an identity chip, transit and transfer tokens, and the import/export documentation.
“Anything to declare?” the clerk asks as she raises one of her four eyebrows.
The Tonti clerk, like all Tonti, has 4 eyebrows over their 3 eyes, an unusual feature of any species, to say the least. Galorg has heard that Tonti can communicate with other Tonti simply through eyebrow movement; and Galorg is always mesmerized by the facial expressions of beings with multiple facial features. How Latpons can eat with one mouth and talk with the other always flusters Galorg, especially at Embassy dinners and peace conferences.
“Anything to declare?” the clerk asks again.
“No. Sorry, busy day ahead of me.” Galorg replies, shaking their massive head, “I was just thinking of the day ahead of me.”
“Hmm.” the clerk snorts as Galorg pushes their paperwork and required travel chits through the slot in the metal barred and blast proof window.
The clerk breathes in through her teeth, “I see you’re on your way to HCISR headquarters?”, another eyebrow raises.
Galorg wonders if that’s good, or more precisely, what happens when a Tonti raises all four eyebrows?
“I am.” Galorg replies calmly.
The clerk glances at Galorg’s lumpy bag on the floor, “Anything to declare?” she asks again. Slowly drawing out each word.
“No. It’s just a few artifacts for my report. Mechanical items. Outdated technology. No food, plant matter, or animal life.”
“Then you won’t mind us scanning it, will you?”
Galorg sighs, wondering why customs clerks always think the HCISR is interested in biomatter. Of all the species Galorg has been sent to investigate, only one used biomatter based technology.
“Go ahead.” Galorg replies. Smiling broadly, they wave an arm at the lumpy bag on the floor next to them.
The clerk nods and two gruff looking Tonti guards approach. The taller one waves a Scan-o-Club over the bag while the shorter one watches a small handheld monitor. Galorg’s been through this often enough to recognize the beeping noises of the machine. Galorg knows the contents have passed the scan before the guards announce it.
“All clear.” the monitor reading guard cries. The guards nod at the clerk and clumsily return to their posts by the nearest pillars.
The clerk violently stamps Galorg’s paperwork and pushes it, along with the chips and tokens, back through the slot in the window.
“You’re clear. You may go. Good Galaxies to you.” the clerk says in a surprisingly polite and sweet voice. All four eyebrows look almost upturned, like a secondary smile on the Tonti’s broad face.
“Good Galaxies to you.” Galorg nods as they scoop up their credentials. Galorg hefts the bag onto a shoulder, then turns and walks through the departures portal.
Galorg’s glad to be leaving the Galaxias Galaxy far behind them. This has been one of the least promising expeditions they’re been sent on by the High Council. They aren’t looking forward to giving their report tomorrow. The High Council is bound to be disappointed in Galorg’s findings. Not that they’ll blame Galorg, they’re just doing their job.
The HCISR has been very busy lately. Having worked for the HCISR longer than any other Investigative Agent, Galorg’s the Head Senior Investigative Agent. Galorg doesn’t remember a boom of new species quite like this one. By Galorg’s calculations, the last time this many species began interstellar travel at the same time, was when the HCISR was first formed. It’s an exciting time to be an Investigative Agent.
Galorg has traveled all over the universe while on assignment. They’ve been to 18 different galaxies. Telinia was their favorite, by far. Every single inhabited planet in that galaxy was a beach; and each one had different colored sand and water. The Telinians are Galactic favorites too, they’re some of the nicest, friendliest, and most sincere beings in the universe.
There have been a few planets and galaxies that Galorg didn’t enjoy. Usually if it required a Breather Unit, it didn’t suit Galorg. And that makes sense, if the atmosphere isn’t breathable, usually the climate and/or the terrain isn’t suited to Galorg’s physiology either. But that doesn’t mean the planet itself isn’t enjoyable, it’s just not enjoyable for Galorg and other Ogrians. The High Council values Galorg’s ability to remain neutral in these situations and report objectively.
Everyone, including Galorg, had high hopes for this newest civilization. When the communications and information from the Galaxias Galaxy began streaming in a few Galactic Standard Years back, the possibilities and promise of this newly discovered civilization was exciting. Previously, there hadn’t been any indication of life in the Galaxias Galaxy. It was as if these beings sprang up out of nowhere! It was so sudden and surprising, a committee was formed, an official inquiry filed, and translators and decipherers were hired just for this one species.
Everything was going as expected in the Galaxias Galaxy case. With the boom in space faring civilizations over the past few Galactic Standard Years, the HCISR has become quite streamlined in its ability to assess and assist new civilizations as they became interstellar and intergalactic travelers.
Once the committee translators learned most of the languages of TriSol, the only inhabited planet in the Galaxia Galaxy and the source of all the communications, Galorg was assigned the expedition. Their job, as always, was to observe and make a detailed report about the beings space-travel readiness and general ability to adapt to the galactic community at large.
Basically, Galorg’s job was to determine if the beings were ready to meet their galactic neighbors and if the species had the capacity to understand just how large their universe truly is. Galorg’s expedition quickly lost its excitement and became one of their bleakest to date.
Overall, TriSol, is nice; even promising, in it’s beauty and natural, universe-given, resources. The views are breathtaking. It’s a nice size, and rather unique too. Unlike most other inhabited planets, with their one or two climates, this one has multiple climates, sometimes even on the same land mass!
There are frozen tundras, hot beaches, arid deserts, steaming damp forests, mountains, open plains, temperate regions, lush river banks, and long sandy stretches. There are oceans and land masses – land masses that are still shifting and moving! Ice caps and volcanos!
The topographic and geologic part of the report is exciting. Galorg is going to enjoy that part, simply because they doubt the High Council will believe them. It’s a good thing they took so many ImageKeeps.
It’s the beings, the civilization, that troubles Galorg and has left the gnawing sensation in their gullet. The TriSolars are on the cusp of interstellar travel. They have the technology, the science, and the resources. They are quite capable. But they don’t have the maturity of an interstellar or intergalactic traveling society. That’s what troubles Galorg. That’s why this is such a bleak case.
TriSolars are carbon based oxygen breathers. That’s not as much a hindrance as it once was. Many beings find ways to adapt to the various atmospheres, and Breather Units are so commonplace, no one seems to notice them anymore. Some beings even travel in full EnviroSuits, depending on their required atmospheres. Most travel depots have multiple Enviro Chambers too, so travelers can have a respite from the Breather Units or EnviroSuits while traveling between hospitable atmospheres and climates.
What concerns Galorg is the TriSolars’ lack of unity. There are numerous governments on the small planet. Galorg couldn’t decide which one, was the dominant or majority rule, if there even was one. All of the governments seem to be arguing over how to best unify their beings.
Galorg’s not even sure which government would be the one the HCISR would contact when making first contact. And, based on the way the governments deal with one another, they’re pretty sure a planet wide war would erupt if the HCISR chose poorly. Galorg’s seen intergalactic policies between different atmosphere dwelling species that are less complicated than the dealings between the multiple governments on TriSol
Trading on TriSol is overly complicated too. Governments are constantly arguing with one another over where the resources are located. Unlike other civilizations and species that use the resources for the entire population, on TriSol, there seems to be a lot of fighting over basic things carbon based oxygen breathing beings need to survive.
The TriSolars are depleting their clean water and breathable atmosphere faster than the planet’s natural system can refilter them. The TriSolars rely on carbon based energy, which seems detrimental to a carbon based life form, but Galorg’s not sure of the science behind this; it’s been noted in the report, and assistance of a Resource Chemist has been requested to verify and quantify this hypothesis.
Galorg fears another Dajian Incident. No species has ever taken kindly to resource grabbing by newcomers to intergalactic travel. Fortunately, only four civilizations in the last Galactic Standard Century have gone extinct because of resource stealing by greedy newcomers. The HCISR has procedures in place to prevent this from happening, but sadly, it still happens occasionally, making agents like Galorg wary in scenarios like the one they found on TriSol.
Galorg has nothing good to say about the TriSolars’ concern for fellow TriSolars either. Galorg knows how hard it can be to coexist with beings from other worlds. Cultures, language, food, traditions, beliefs, mating and social mores, can be starkly different from one planet to another – even within the same galaxy or star system! Not to mention the difference between those that need different atmospheres or have different bodily forms.
Galorg’s not naïve, they know there are problems with prejudices in some parts of the universe. While it’s not right, they understand how it can happen. It’s hard not to notice the differences between each other when one species has legs, one has tentacles, one breathes methane, one breathes oxygen, one doesn’t have eyes or a sense of smell.
But the TriSolars, they can’t even get along with one another, and there’s no biological difference between them. While there are billions of species on the planet – another part of the report that’s going to be fun to give – there’s only one that’s capable of interstellar travel, the bipedal species Galorg has named TriSolars, after the HCISR’s name of their planet, TriSol.
But the infighting between the TriSolars is astounding. Galorg’s surprised they haven’t wiped themselves out yet. Most species have matured past their trivial differences by the time they develop the technology to travel to other worlds, but not this one. And that troubles Galorg. That’s what leaves the uneasy feeling in their gullet.
As Galorg stands before the High Council, they shuffle their feet and fidget. Galorg hasn’t had to give such a dismal report in a long, long, time. They wonder if the members of the High Council can sense their unease. Galorg knows the High Council won’t punish them for a bad report, it’s their job to be accurate, and occasionally that means a depressing report, but it doesn’t make delivering the report any easier.
“Well, Galorg, it’s good to see you’ve returned safely. What say you? Is the planet TriSol in Galaxia Galaxy ready for first contact? Can we send a delegation to welcome them as intergalactic travelers?” the Head of the High Council asks cheerfully. His favorite part of being the Head of the High Council is forming the delegations that make first contact.
“No Sirs, Madams, and All Concerned. The beings of the planet TriSol in Galaxia Galaxy are not yet fit for intergalactic communication. And if I’m honest, I fear they will wipe themselves out in less than a Galactic Standard Century.”
“They are depleting their own resources, multiplying at an alarming rate, well beyond what their planet can sustain, and show no concern for one another. They’re causing their own mass extinction. They have the technology, science, and intelligence to solve their problems, but they seem driven to do themselves, and their planet harm.”
The members of the High Council frown, or show their displeasure in the manner of their species. They look sideways at one another, this was highly unexpected. A murmur fills the room as the Babblers translate.
Galorg continues, “I recommend restricting travel to the Sol system and maintaining observation posts only on outlining edges of Galaxia. I don’t recommend monitoring any closer or risking them detecting us, as their governmental structures seem unstable at best, and the knowledge of intergalactic beings, alliances, and other worlds, may cause panic and upend what little stability their governments do have.”
“I recommend waiting until they annihilate themselves and we can harvest the planet’s remaining resources or salvage any of the other species. The flora and fauna are worth preserving, if we’re able. Full details are available in my report.”
Galorg sighs and hits “Distribute” on his computer, sending the report into the palms of everyone on the High Council.
A loud bang reverberates through the round room as the Head of the High Council drops his gavel, “So be it. Travel restrictions are now in place. Notify the Monitoring Units to inform us of all changes and progress. Galorg’s full report will be available to the crews of all Monitoring Stations for review and reference. If anything changes, all Monitoring Stations are required to make an addendum to Galorg’s report. The case of TriSol will be reviewed in one Galactic Standard Century if no addendums are filed. Good Galaxies to us all.”
Beeps, blips, and the mumblings of the Babblers fill the chamber. The High Council Members move onto the next report. Galorg nods slightly and shuffles out of the room.
Just outside of the chamber, a page in an EnviroSuit bows low to Galorg. Galorg nods in return. The page hands Galorg their next assignment chip. Galorg sighs, clicks it into their computer and reads it. On to the next assignment. Good Galaxies to us all.