This piece is a prelude to my Foedus Planetarum setting, set many decades before the other stories. It is written for the Three-Word Wednesday prompt: content, evolve, sober.
“Humankind did not evolve.”
It was not the sort of thing you wanted to tackle sober, but Imri was the Space Department’s Chief of Science, and she could not be seen to be drunk on the job.
“That is,” she looked over her notes again. “Humanity did evolve, quite a bit. But humanity, on earth… well, it’s complex.”
There were three other people in the room with her. Two of them had white-iridescent hair and slit-pupiled iris like a cat. The other one was the Space Department’s Chief of Security, and he was waiting impatiently for her to work through this.
She looked at the man? who was her counterpart for the Jocet. “All right. So humanity originally evolved… somewhere. And then was seeded, colonized out to various planets in… slightly modified forms?”
The Jocet’s language was alien, but, at the same time, it was not alien. Their translators had been able to comprehend it, and, conversely, the Jocet’s translators could handle English. Her counterpart nodded. “It is simplified, of course. But you are content with your understanding?”
“Content? Content?” Imri shook her head. “No, no, I could spent a lifetime studying this and not be content. But do I have enough to brief my peers? Yes.” She slumped back into her chair. “And then, then I have enough understanding to request a sabbatical to further research this.”
The Chief of Security – the Terran-human, North-Atlantic-Nations Chief of Security – shook his head. He’d followed just enough to know he was lost. “I think if you can explain this to the rest of the Chiefs, I’ll put in my rec that you get that research as a fully-funded work project.”
Imri couldn’t argue. Looking across the table at the Jocet, she had a feeling Earth was going to be playing knowledge-catch-up for quite a while.
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