A/N: Just a short installment this week.
Vanna had excelled herself again, Amanpreet decided. The table in the Mess was covered with multiple dishes all giving off delicious smells and she had even managed to rustle up a chocolate cake from somewhere. Oni looked slightly embarrassed when they led him into the canteen.
“You didn’t have to go to all this trouble,” he said.
“It’s no trouble,” Vanna said with a grin. “I’ll take any excuse to make a feast.” She pushed an empty bowl at him. “Help yourself, since you’re the birthday boy you get to go first.”
“Thank you,” he said and began piling curry into the bowl.
“The contact team should be here in a couple of hours,” Niobe said. As she filled her own bowl once Oni was seated and eating “They’re using very long jumps to get here. It seems the council thinks this is extremely important.”
“That’s because it is,” Amanpreet said mildly. “What’s happening with Karis? Did the last dispatch say?”
“Only that a first contact team has reached the system and opened diplomatic discussions. Oh, and apparently they are really curious with very little caution about being contacted.”
“That fits what we know of their biology and their cultures,” Oni said. “They aren’t inclined to territoriality or xenophobia because like the Kska Ishtari they have self-sterility genes that mean groups that do become insular tend also to die out within generations.”
“They aren’t quite as innately peaceful as the Ishtari,” one of the other scientists said. “They have had wars in the past but they tend to fight holding actions against invaders knowing their biology will betray them in the end.”
â€œThe Ishtari have had a war in the past,â€ Amanpreet said. â€œA very long time ago but it happened.â€
â€œWhat?â€ Oni said. â€œWhen?â€
â€œBack in their prehistory when the Kska first migrated into Tkin territory. Because of their very different biologies and technologies neither realised the other was sophont and they viewed each other as food.â€
â€œI always thought that was a myth,â€ Oni said. â€œTheir stories also say a god intervened and stopped them â€“ which one obviously varies with religion.â€
â€œIt’s not a myth,â€ Sangat said. â€œThough pretty much everyone thought that it was. The acid environment tends to make archaeology very difficult on Ishtar but a new dig found evidence of a persistent and prolonged conflict during the early contact period. It seems to have lasted several generations then ended quite abruptly after which the evidence shows them living together peaceably and with major disruption of either’s culture or customs. The paper is being published next month.â€
â€œThat’s interesting,â€ Oni said. â€œI wonder why they really stopped so abruptly. I’m fairly sure it wasn’t divine intervention.â€
â€œThat, unfortunately, the dig can’t tell us,â€ Sangat said. â€œBut it’s interesting to speculate.â€
â€œIt is,â€ Oni agreed before turning his attention back to his curry as Amanpreet called from some music from the Whisper’s computer.
The next few hours passed pleasantly in conversation and laughter until they were signalled that the contact team’s ship had arrived.
â€œOh well, back to business I guess,â€ Oni said. â€œThank you that was a great birthday party.â€
â€œYou’re welcome,â€ Amanpreet said. â€œLet’s go and see how the team want to approach this situation.â€
A/N: I’m not getting many clicks through from the prompt posts so from now on I won’t beÂ making one. Instead can you please leave your prompts in the comments on this post. As can you please leave your posts by midnight Sun/Mon