Invasion of the Bambies
“Yes, they turned out as badly as the earlier survey team expected they would. Don’t they always? Why can’t carnivores be nice?
“We tried everything we could to redeem them, though; gave them every chance. The Book says that there is always the possibility of redemption, so we must never assume too much, and we should always give the benefit of the doubt to even the most frightening of creatures, once they have discovered how to travel between the stars.
“The results of our initial survey looked quite promising. They had formed quite large population centres, which isn’t a very carnivore thing to do, and their global communications infrastructure was of a high order, allowing not only for the very fast exchange of ideas, but also for the creatures themselves to move physically around the planet as quickly as their technology allowed. Taking all that into account, it seemed possible that they had managed to lose their pack mentality.
“But it turned out to be only a façade. We performed deep surveys of three of their population centres – one each on three of the world’s major land masses – and studied the lives and behaviour of a total of almost seven thousand individual creatures.
“We found that the carnivore pack mentality was still present, but had become far more complex than we have seen before.
“Rather than belonging to a single pack, according to species or bloodline, each of the creatures was a member of several different packs that were largely conceptual in nature.
“‘Country’, ‘religion’, ‘class’, ‘politics’, ‘income bracket’, and ‘fashion’ were a few of the most overt and incomprehensible of the packs – although pack systems would be a better description, because each had myriad sub-packs, and the creatures affiliated themselves to those different sub-packs for only so long as their predatory nature could see that there was something to gain for themselves as individuals.
“So, instead of there being no packs at all, as is required for decent civilisation, the creatures had numberless packs, always fighting between themselves, and always contesting over control and ownership of things that should not be controlled or owned.
“The final required step was for us to make contact, which we did; but instead of communicating our arrival to all, the first individuals we met took us to one of their conceptual packs – one that forced some packs to follow rules that had been invented by yet another pack. Then we were taken to a ‘more important’ pack. Then another ‘more important’ pack. Then another, and another, until we finally ended up talking to a ‘Presidential’ pack.
“But even the Presidential pack did not communicate our messages to all.
“Like all carnivores, they believed they owned what they could see with their front-facing eyes, so they communicated only what would be in their personal interest.
“When the pack leader finally used the global communications network to tell all of our arrival and our messages, he did so piecemeal, and distorted everything so much that even we could not recognise the reality of what we represented or what we had conveyed.
“All the way through his communiqué, he made pack references, and when he ended with the words ‘for the greater glory of the United States and mankind’, which translates to ‘for the greater glory of the pack I lead, and of the bigger pack that I want to lead’, we could hardly bear to watch.
“His predatory eyes looking out hungrily and his fully-displayed flesh-eating teeth said what he really wanted to say.
“Glory. How many mouths does glory feed? How many lives are made happy by glory? Why can carnivores never see that existence is enough?
“If allowed to leave their star, they would have gone out into the galaxy, taking ownership of worlds and the creatures living on them, spreading their packs and forming new packs; fighting, killing, and eating any creatures that they decided were not of their incomprehensibly-defined packs.
“The idea of living together with others does not occur to carnivores, which is why the large conurbations on the world had made us feel so hopeful.
“But the same dreadful things happen almost every time a carnivore species becomes strong on a world: They change and ravage the world to suit their pack; they take on the belief that they own everything and every creature; they become a ‘dominant species’.
“Everyone, every known interstellar species, has agreed on the words of The Book, and The Book says that this must not be allowed to happen in the civilised galaxy; that predatory carnivores must not be allowed to proliferate at the interstellar level.
“Our task was clear, then; and, no matter how unpleasant a task it was, it had to be carried out.
“It took us considerable time to trace the history of the species, and to find a point where we could intercede without damaging others, but we eventually found the single creature whose mutation resulted in the evolution of a strain of carnivorous monkeys that would form into packs and dominate their environment, and then spread to dominate their world.
“Once that single creature had been sterilised, we returned to the present, to ensure that the world had rebalanced itself in a way that allowed for civilisation to develop.
“We are very happy with the results. The world is now inhabited by creatures that live together as creatures should live. No other intelligent carnivorous strains have developed, as could be expected – the carnivorous need to kill almost always extends to bringing on the murderous extinction of one’s own species, with the growth of intelligence – and the civilisation that has developed is peaceful and caring.
“The world no longer has interstellar capabilities, because not enough time has passed for a non-competitive, non-pack society to develop that far; so we performed surveys, but did not make contact.
“But we are sure that when they eventually reach the technological stage where they can communicate and join with the other creatures of the galaxy, it will be as equals and friends, not as owners of worlds and dominators.”
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