Si-Val-Ra follows along, the docksides hosting a selection of naval vessels serving various scientific and security purposes, one slowly pulls into port alongside the docking space. Several small drones immediately set about it, fixing small damages, attaching supply feeds and retrieving cargo. Another Ka-Len-Ro emerges, eager to get some rest. He notices the command personnel, offering a quick salute.
Ku-Hul-Ah and Si-Val-Ra offer a salute in response, before pressing on. They arrive at the Chemical Plant. Ascending through the various corridors, as compounds flow through tubes, monitored with excruciating detail, watching temperature, isotopic composition, pH for the slightest variation.
Si-Val-Ra is showed a screen, several chemical equations on display as video footage from the labs showed plants and corals under test conditions, being exposed to compounds. Double helix of DNA were being studied, as machines began to deconstruct the genetic code that underpinned their existence. As the duo enter the room, the attending staff stand in response to their presence. Salutes are exchanged between those present. Si-Val-Ra addresses them.
“At ease. What am I looking at?”
One of the scientific officers speaks up, addressing them.
“We’ve been studying the local ecology extensively. The vast majority of the food chain is dependant upon photosynthetic organisms which serve as the base layer for predation. A disruption to this process would trigger a cascading effect to higher tier populations. The whole system is very vulnerable, considering other factors we’ve studied. We have developed a compound that inhibits this process as part of our studies, though it would be easy enough to manufacture as a chemical weapon.”
“So we would deploy this to trigger localised breakdowns, culling numbers in the regions?” Si-Val-Ra muses.
“Or we could deploy low dosages planetwide. It would pass after a few planetary cycles at most as it breaks down. It would reduce numbers significantly, rending nations incapable of external force against us as they rebuild themselves economically.” Ku-Hul-Ah affirms.
Si-Val-Ra pauses, pondering the proposition put in front of him, before continuing.
“Hmm. It is true they pose a threat. Our brief time here has showed them to be excessively aggressive towards each other. We certainly did not fight amongst ourselves like that and I do suspect they may view us with suspicion, perhaps even fear…”
“Then we should strike then while we still have the element of surprise against them. We will need to expand our operations closer to their lands, sooner rather than later.” proposes Ku-Hul-Ah.
“…No. What you propose would almost certainly fail to deliver the goal desired. If we get the quantity even slightly wrong, it could have catastrophic consequences for our longer term plans. We currently lack a thorough enough understanding of the nuance of this planet to ensure this doesn’t result in some additional consequence. This isn’t even considering the broad collateral damage such an attack would cause. Organism that have played no part in this would suffer.”
Ku-Hul-Ah counters: “It would be a gamble, but we’re already playing with odds here. We don’t know what they’ll do if we present ourselves to them. Look at what we’ve seen. They fought each other over…what exactly? They seemingly draw weapons the moment they come into contact with each other, what can we expect from them when we, a species from an entirely different world, with an entirely different mindset, shows up on their door?”
“You’re suggesting we attempt to stack the deck by pre-empting conflict. How would this advert conflict in the longer term? If it is their nature to be aggressive, they would only view us as a greater threat. If they are not and this is symptomatic of something else, then this is an inappropriate response and would condemn many who have no reason to die by our hand. If we are to build a long term, productive relationship, it cannot be started with an act of aggression. We must be as transparent and clear as possible, to limit chances of suspicion and mistrust. Ultimately, they must be given the benefit of the doubt.”
Before the conversation can continue any further, Si-Val-Ra and Ku-Hul-Ah receive alerts on their communications. They close up their armour, granting them privacy. Si-Val-Ra is the one to speak.
“Go ahead Ma-Xim-Ma.”
“Sir, I’ve just picked up a new signature off world. Something else has arrived in the system…”