In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
"Any word from-"
"No, not yet."
"You're saying they have only one partner? Have you seen their DNA?"
"I was shocked too, sir."
"You betcha. This is incredible."
"Well, they sign papers, contracts, all very official. And sometimes, well, often they break these contracts, and look for a new mate."
"Truly. The system appears to work though. Of course, there are many breaches of contract all the same."
"And the offsping? Resettled in communal parenting facilities?"
"Oh, no parents often undertake a legal battle for ownership of the offspring."
"How do they transfer knowledge to their offspring?"
"Through a technology called culture. This acts as a sort of extension of their phenotypic differences."
"Yes, they exhibit superficial external differences, a product of their environment, and various groups use these differences to sow division between one another."
"But their progeny is then educated in the latest understandings of the universe?"
"What do you mean?"
"You see, sir, things exist that describe reality. They call these things ideologies, and sometimes religions."
"So, they teach the offspring different versions of reality on the same planet?"
"It is, sir."
"They recognise that the difference between them and the other creatures that populate their planet is their vastly superior ability to plan ahead, to imagine a future?"
"They're aware, sir."
"And they understand that that is what we call God?"
"God is a goal, they haven't worked that one out yet?"
"No, sir. For them, God represents many things, but the idea that God represents an abstract goal is lost on them."
"We could tell them that before we leave though, right?"
"No, sir. Not without approval from headquarters."
"So, how long since their retrovirus was activated?"
"The thing is, sir, we never altered their DNA. They evolved naturally, like us."
"You don't say. Remarkable."
"Yes, sir. They've come far. They could even be a threat to us in the future. Although, research suggests that they're currently struggling through what they term, the bottleneck of history-"
"Aha, bottleneck of history. I like that."
"Yes. Since developing nuclear fission, they've steered clear of any major conflicts for fear of destroying the planet."
"Interesting. They have that level of perspective, and yet they're still a warring species, I imagine?"
"Correct. They're still very violent, but it's tempered with the knowledge that they now have the capacity to destroy themselves if things escalate beyond reason."
"War between a small territory and another small or big territory is allowed. War between a big territory and another big territory is avoided."
"Will they make it through this bottleneck? What do our predictions say?"
"They have an 80% chance of survival, sir."
"Seems high. Is that with or without our assistance?"
"Oh, no they'll be extinct before the turn of what they term the next century."
"Has management okayed our support?"
"We're waiting on word from them, sir."
"Any timeline on when we'll be-"
"Soon, sir. Very soon."
"It's a shame if we don't get to help, don't you think?"
"Well, sir, I don't know. If they make it, could we really trust that they won't attack us in the future?"
"I suppose. But it would be a shame. How often do we come across a species that hasn't been tampered with, a species this close to making it off planet."
"They've already made it off planet, sir, but have yet to establish an off world colony, save for their space station, a small simple habitat orbiting their planet."
"Yes, yes I see."
"We're receiving a transmission from HQ."
"And, we've been recalled."
"Well, good luck to them I suppose."
"Yes, sir. They'll need it."
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