The High Council of Capital Mind has had thousands of years to become very, very good at all elements of its job. The official meeting and greeting of new sentient races, and their inclusion on the Corporate books, was just one such element. They’d got it down to a fine art, but hadn’t lost sight of the fact that, for the new arrivals, it was all still rather wondrous.
The contact and welcoming teams were divided according to environment type, species type, political and religious alignments, and a myriad of other demographics. Aquatic sentients were not so rare that there weren’t several diplomatic teams dedicated specifically to their Corporate integration, depending, again, on specific type. These teams were composed mainly of fellow aquatic species, but lest the wrong impression be made there were also representatives of the more common species including, of course, Molren.
The Molran on the Standard 3 Aquatic Environment Diplomatic Team was a likable old man by the name of Gartuda Felhbron. His nickname among the team, amusingly enough, was Furgun.
“They talk in pretty much the standard way,” Felhbron reported, “scent receptors and body language, so it’s mostly going to be up to the chem team to sort something out. They do have a sort of interface for their subordinate race, though, who communicate verbally. We might be able to use that.”
“A race of swimmers with walking pets,” Ktiki-kt pronounced playfully, the sounds translating themselves through Felhbron’s atmosphere-generation field. Ktiki-kt was a Shallop, a sort of large, highly-intelligent manta-ray, swooping gently around the conference room and occasionally blocking out the lights in a sort of ancestrally frightening manner. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the like.”
“You weren’t on the team back when we first contacted the Nautilak,” Gartuda replied. He was one of only three landbound members, and even though he was officially in command of the team, he’d declared it a matter of respect and taste that the ship environment be aquatic. Not all the aquatic species of the Standard 3 Aquatic Environment Diplomatic Team were suited to the same kind of aquatic environment, but that was nothing that a set of filters couldn’t handle. Felhbron himself felt uncomfortable in the open air, after so many years underwater. He barely felt the field generator slung across his upper shoulders anymore, and he walked funny when he was out of the water.
“The Nautilak,” he went on, “had no fewer than three subordinate races, one of them from another planet entirely. The Nautilak were very aggressive, and probably would have tried to subjugate the rest of their galaxy if they’d had a chance.”
“What happened to them?” a sleek, hammer-headed Hraki asked. Hraki didn’t have separate names, considering them self-indulgent. “I’ve never heard of the Nautilak.”
“No, you wouldn’t have,” Felhbron said, with a small sigh. “The fourth race they tried to subjugate, against our strident objections, was the Damoraks.”
There was a pause as the team mulled this over, complete with varied mental images. The Damoraks were a race at least as old as the Molren, centred in the Quin Cities. They were ancient, powerful, and extraordinarily hostile. Gartuda Felhbron had once stated that the Damorak species came as close to the philosophical definition of evil as any mortal life-form could.
“Probably explains why we’ve never heard of them,” Brobenduzul the Technologies Integrator agreed wryly. Brobenduzul was a Barlian Nigriki, Capital Mind native and one of the two other landbound people on board. “I don’t see this subject race thing as a problem. The Blokeem had a subject race of sentient microorganisms – there were trillions of them.”
“The Blokeem also had a highly virulent retrovirus as a side-effect of their symbiosis with the Pilkki-men,” Felhbron replied. “Harmless to them, lethal to almost everybody else – unless they were infested with the little wise-mouths.”
Brobenduzul the Technologies Integrator was unfazed. “A lot of perfectly respectable species have a tradition of slavery.”
“A lot of completely unrespectable ones do too,” Gartuda replied, “but I agree that this isn’t the problem. The problem is this notification from the High Council Security Board.”