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dylan jeninga

“I read your report, of course. One life-bearing planet, the third one orbiting a mid-range sun, with only one moon. From what I could tell, it seemed like a strange place.”

“I suppose. It’s wilderness, mostly, inhabited by carbon-based lifeforms with tiny lifespans.”

“It sounds quite exotic. And I understand there is intelligent life as well?”

“There’s one species that rates at least an eight on the Vindocci Sentience Scale.”

“Just one?”

“Yeah, although it’s managed to spread itself to every major landmass, except for the one at the south pole.”

“Who lives there?”

“Nobody. Just some non-sentient animals.”

“How about the planet’s moon? It’s not far from the planet.”

“Lifeless, they haven't reached it. These natives are intelligent, but they’re hunter-gatherers, not space-travellers. They haven’t even developed the concept of outer space. Planets are just moving stars to them. They think of them as magic lights in the sky.”

“Ha! Delightful! They don’t even use telescopes?”

“Not even those.”


“It’s fine until you have to spend a while here. Then you start to miss civilization. I can’t wait to talk to real people again! No offense.”

“None taken, none taken. Is it that bad?”

“It’s alright as it goes, but look at the images. Would you want to live there?”

“Fair point. So contact has gone well then?”

“Well enough. Like I said, they’re spread out, they don’t have anything close to a central authority or language. That made negotiations harder. But they like our technology.”

“I’m not surprised. Disintegrators are better than rocks!”

“It’s not the weapons they like. I mean, they found our weapons impressive, as well as our spaceships - but what they really like is our entertainment.”

“Our entertainment eh?”

“Can’t get enough of it. Holodramas, aether scores, bot-comedy, doesn’t matter. They were skeptical at first, but you should have seen ‘em when we set up a screenwire in one of their camps. Their light-sensing organs were bulging!”

“They took to it?”

“Like Garellian cyber-crawlers to a beacon. In fact, it’s caused some problems - for them, not for us.”

“I can relate, I watch too many holodramas myself. Well, how do you suggest we proceed?”

“We should begin negotiations immediately.”

“I was hoping you’d say that. And your advice?”

“We approach one of the largest camps and offer them a free five-year subscription to the Galactic Entertainment Network.”

“And in return?”

“They give us mineral rights to the entire planetary system.”

“The whole system?”

“Sure. Remember, until we came none of them ever knew outer space existed. What do they care about the iron-nickel cores of other planets? They don’t even know what that means. Planets are just gods to them.”

“Mineral-rich gods. Wonderful! But what happens when they develop spaceships of their own? It may be a long time before HQ gets around to sending the planet-crackers that far out.”

“If they ever make their own ships, and we haven’t set up shop on their other planets yet - well, we’ll just send a gunship around to remind them that they signed a contract.”

"I suppose. I just feel a bit bad for the little guys."

"Don't. They've got five years of free GEN. What more could they want?"

“Yes, you're probably right.”

“I doubt it’ll ever be a problem, anyways. They’re carbon based, like I said, with short lifespans to boot.”

“Well, I’ll send a message to HQ, and then we’ll do as you say. You’ve done well, my friend. I imagine you’ll be recognized for this!”

“I better be. There’s enough wealth in this system to propel a civilization to the stars. We'll be rich."

"Wonderful! It's a relief when things go so smoothly. Last cycle, I was in the Replodan Star Federation, and that was a nightmare."


"Yes, the Replodans were withholding their exports. They felt our dealings with them were becoming one-sided."

"Sounds like it could have turned into quite the interstellar incident. Did you work it out?"

"I did, we finally reached an agreement. A good thing, too. The last thing we want is for anyone to think we're trying to take advantage of them."

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