The Gubru and the Parrot
by Michael Halbrook
This story was an opportunity to write about parrots, and to do a science fiction story set in David Brin's "Uplift" universe. This is fan fiction, and not part of the official timeline of the Uplift universe.
The Uplift books in order of publication and story flow: "Sundiver" "Star Tide Rising" "The Uplift War" the second group are "Brightness Reef" "Infinity's Shore" and "Heaven's Reach". There is a background book as well, "Contacting Aliens" also by David Brin. Further information was found in GURPS UPLIFT by Stefan Jones, published by Steve Jackson games. My story begins prior to the events of "Star Tide Rising" and concludes after the events of "The Uplift War". Any errors or inconsistencies are my own, as are the various conclusions drawn in the story.
Information about parrots was drawn from Wikipedia, and my own experiences as a bird owner.
This story works best if you have read the the "Uplift" books, or at least "The Uplift War". The epilogue to the story does include some spoilers for "The Uplift War", but mostly what happened, rather than how.
Here are some explanations and definitions if you are unfamiliar with David Brin's works.
Uplift is the process of bringing an animal to full sapience by physical and genetic modification. All known intelligent species in the various galaxies were uplifted by someone else. How this got started is very much a "chicken or the egg" situation. Humanity has no known patrons, they are sometimes referred to as "wolflings" for being raised without patrons. Most galactic races consider humans were abandoned at some point during Uplift, a serious crime. There are some aliens still looking for the criminals. Humans are sometimes called heretics, as some humans still profess to believe they became sapient due to natural processes alone.
Anglic is often used in science fiction to describe English that may be as far from current English in the future as Elizabethan English is from current English in the past.
The Gubru were uplifted from a flightless bird. They require three sexes to procreate. Most Gubru are neuter, fertile Gubru are selected from the most promising neuters and brought to sexual maturity by artificial means. Genderless terms in this story, roughly he~xe, him~xem, his~xyr or xyrs, himself~xemself.
Budgerigar or budgie is the small parrot that Americans call a parakeet, parakeet describes a number of parrot species with similar traits, budgie is a more specific term for the little bird that is the third most popular pet in the world.
This story was fun to write, I hope you find it fun to read as well.
Race Enhancement Research Assistant Quirt took the perch at a terminal in the Branch Galactic Library on the Gubru homeworld. Xe entered the word "Parrot". The terminal chimed and replied.
"The parrot is any of a large number of feathered, flying avians on the Earthclan original leasehold planet Earth. Parrots are identified by having a strong, curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed four toed feet. Parrots often have bright plumage, and can mimic words of any pre-contact Human language and numerous other sounds. There is no evidence that Parrots comprehend the words they mimic."
RERA Quirt looked at the text again. The information presented matched that of the local pico branch Library at the Race Enhancement Research Center, why did it appear different? Quirt realized what was missing were the terms "wolflings" "half-animal" and "heretics". Quirt knew it would be pointless and possibly dangerous to bring up the discrepancy with his superior, that being had opposed this line of research from its beginning.
Quirt remembered perching uncomfortably, trying to maintain a stature xe thought of as "respectful submission while awaiting admonishment". Quirt's supervisor had grown visibly angry while reading the following:
Synopsis of research goals of a proposed investigation of the physiology and neurology responsible for the ability of the various members of Earthclan leasehold planet Earth Avian species referred to as "parrots" to pronounce words and sounds associated with various pre-contact Earthclan languages.
Currently members of Clan Gubru must communicate with other species that do not understand Galactic 3 or Galactic 4 via the use of a translation voder. This is a recognized impediment to certain types of negotiation, and the occasional imperfect translation can be detrimental in a tense situation.
If the physical and mental processes that allow parrot speech can be quantified, then comparison to Gubru physiology would indicate if modifications to Gubru physiology would be possible to allow speech in other languages without the use of technology.
Advanced library search of both the local Galactic Library branch, and if necessary, the sector Library at Tanith.
It is recognized the available information on parrots may not yet be collated either here or by the Tanith Sector Library due to the recent date of submission for this information.
If insufficient information is available locally or through the Tanith Sector Library, field research on Earthclan original leasehold planet Earth will be necessary. Field research would emphasize the abilities of wild parrots to speak, scanning for both the physical structures that allow vocalization and the mental processes that cause vocalization. After a sufficiently large sample of wild parrot behavior is cataloged, comparison to domestic parrots would be undertaken to establish what, if any, part of the ability to speak was due to domestication.
Quirt first heard of Earth's parrots at a lecture given by a well known Gooksyu traveler that had just visited Earth. The traveler described the incredible variety of plant and animal life on Earth, spending some time describing parrots, and their ability to mimic many words and sounds. Parrots, and their ability to speak sounded like a very good research subject to Quirt. Quirt's superior disagreed emphatically, saying nothing good would come of learning about that planet of wolfling heretics and their half-animal clients. However Quirt's supervisor could not restrict Quirt's Library access without showing cause.
Quirt turned to the Kanten Library assistant. "I wish to request, apply for, petition, the Sector Branch Library at Tanith for further information on Parrots."
The Kanten replied. "It will be done as you require, Race Enhancement Research Assistant."
Quirt returned to the planetary Branch Library when the information on parrots became available.
A year had passed since Quirt's request to the Tanith Sector Library was entered, a short time, but the Gubru were a powerful clan, such things were not supposed to effect the operation of the library, but Quirt was back much sooner that xe expected. In the meantime Quirt's former supervisor had been removed for cause, another member of the Race Enhancement Research group had looked up parrots at the Branch Galactic Library and reported the discrepancy in their pico branch library entry. The discrepancy was traced back to the supervisor. Adulterating a Library entry was a serious infraction. The investigation brought Quirt's research request to the notice of others and the research was given official sanction. The entry began.
"The parrot is any of a large number of feathered, flying avians on the Earthclan original leasehold planet Earth. Parrots are identified by having a strong, curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed four toed feet. Parrots often have bright plumage, and can mimic words of any pre-contact Human language and numerous other sounds. Some parrots comprehend human language as well as mimic language, but this is erratic and difficult to quantify."
What followed were several audio visual clips of parrots.
A very small parrot repeating in archaic Anglic "I'm a baby bird, I'm a baby bird, I'm a baby bird"
Another very similar parrot with different markings. A human speaks "Mr Cheeps, time to go home."
The parrot replies "No."
Human "Mr Cheeps you know you need to go home."
Parrot "OK (acknowledgement of statement)" whereupon the parrot turns and enters a cage.
A large gray parrot next to two humans that are talking. Another parrot in the background is speaking in slurred archaic Anglic. The closer parrot suddenly shouts "TALK CLEARLY!"
These were oldest of the audio visual recordings; there were many others. Quirt remained perched through all of them.
In the end the majority of the recordings showed no awareness or deliberate purpose to the the parrots vocalizations. This made the ones showing deliberate use of language even more striking.
Quirt observed something else as well. The stance and body language of the parrots talking to communicate was different from those merely repeating words or phrases. Quirt wondered if this was noticed by the human researchers, or if that Quirt's avian ancestry gave xem an advantage. This was all the materiel the Sector Branch Library had.
Five years later Quirt was perched respectfully before a senior bureaucrat of Transit and Travel, an important part of "Cost and Caution" one of the three branches of Gubru leadership.
The bureaucrat spoke "Your request, petition, application, to travel to Earthclan leasehold planet Earth has been approved, authorized, sanctified. However, approval, agreement to your travel, acceptance of your presence, by the Earthclan authorities comes with many restrictions, conditions, requirements. The great clan Gooksyu-Gubru are registered enemies of Earthclan and their half-animal clients. Restrictions, conditions, limitations, on your presence are to be expected. No official complaint was made, expressed, indicated, to these restrictions. Your travel is to be, will be, must be, as a private individual without, lacking, having no, official standing. The Earthclan authorities specify if open hostilities occur you will be interned, restrained, confined, for an indefinite period of time."
The display before Quirt lit up and a letter of conditions and conditional acceptance from the Earthclan authorities was visible. As Quirt read the letter, xe became increasingly angry. The list of restrictions was long, no electronic equipment of any kind was to be brought to Earth, Quirt should send a list of what xe requires, it would be supplied on Earth. All electronic equipment supplied would continuously transmit and be continuously monitored. Quirt was to be accompanied at all times by two assistants one a human, the other a near-animal chimpanzee. Quirt's anger cooled. The humans did not want xem to come, the Gubru did not want xem to go. Quirt looked at the illuminated dot at the end of the message and thought "accept".
"I believed you would accept. You have applied every year for the past five years. Your application was routed to me this time. I read your application. I agree, acknowledge, support, that this research may be of benefit to clan Gooksyu-Gubru. You will be taught the barbarous wolfling tongue Anglic. Be aware the conditions of Earthclan's leasehold on Earth forbid them from uplifting other species on Earth. This ban extends to all other clans while the Humans maintain their leasehold. There is no Gooksyo-Gubru presence on Earth. We contacted the Kanten, and one of their representatives on Earth will act as an intermediary for you. You will be required to report on all you see and experience on Earth. Cost and Caution is very interested in what you see and your opinions of your experience there. You will be briefed by Propriety and by Beam and Talon before you go. They will want evidence of wrong doing or of weaknesses that can be exploited. Transit and Travel believes if you find such evidence you will not return." The bureaucrat told Quirt.
The interviews with the other two branches of Gubru leadership "Propriety" and "Beam and Talon" were similar, in each case the being talking indicated they wanted a report and that the others wanted evidence of wrong doing. Propriety, to Quirt's surprise suggested Quirt would accomplish more the less xe complained about real or imagined slights. All the interviewers agreed any evidence of wrong doing Quirt found would prevent Quirt's return and possibly lead to xyrs disappearance. The Beam and Talon interview was laced with many "wolfings", "half-animals" and "heretics".
A year later Quirt was perched watching Earth approach through a "window". The star liner was Synthian, indifferent allies of Earthclan, but true lovers of money. The "window" was a feature adopted from Earthclan starships, now other clans had ships with "windows" as well. The planet was blue, with many white clouds. Soon the ship was landing.
Quirt finally exited the Receiving and Customs building. It took a long time. Quirt had brought next to nothing, the delay was due to the formality of the proceedings. Everyone bowed, humans with the correct angle for a junior patron species, neo-chimpanzees with the deep bow of a client species. When Quirt left the building xe wondered sarcastically if the humans had learned protocol from the Thennanin. Outside the building were a human and a neo-chimp, both with signs. The human sign was marked Robert Sands, the neo-chimp sign was marked John Smith. These were to be Qurit's "assistants", though xe was sure they were little more than guards. Quirt walked over to them. They both bowed formally and correctly according to their status.
Robert spoke in perfect Galactic 7 "Greetings Race Enhancement Research Assistant Quirt a Gubru/-ab Gooksyu-ab Kooyio-ab Ot'ahh/-ul Kwackoo-ul Okukoo welcome to Earth, we are to be your assistants during your research on Earth."
A few hours ago Quirt was quite pleased at being greeted correctly and formally. Now Quirt decided xe did not need to hear this again while xyrs research lasted.
Robert spoke again "The equipment you requested is at your lodgings, but I brought the voder to put you in communication with us immediately."
Quirt took the voder. It was a standard Galactic item of a type he was familiar with from xyrs time learning Anglic.
Quirt spoke "Thank you assistant Robert Sands a Human -ul Chimpanzee -ul Dolphin. I see you John Smith a Chimpanzee -ab Human. I request that among ourselves we consider protocol and propriety have been satisfied. You may refer to me as Research Assistant Quirt. I have adjusted the voder to Anglic to include John Smith. I understand Anglic without translation. This will speed our interactions. I wish to be taken to my lodgings. I will examine the research equipment tomorrow."
Robert bowed slightly and said still in Galactic 7. "It shall be as you request Research Assistant Quirt. Be aware Chim John Smith understands and speaks Galactic 7 as well. We will now accompany you to your lodgings."
The transport was a standard anti-gravity personnel barge. Quirt was pleased the barge had a perch replacing one of the seats. The journey to Qurit's lodgings was short, but Quirt was fascinated by what xe saw of the city. Buildings, streets, open spaces, none of which conformed to any known Galactic pattern. The occasional familiar Galactic architecture seemed to jar against the native buildings. Suddenly it was very clear to Quirt these people had been on their own for a very, very, long time.
The barge settled outside a familiar looking building, clearly new, clearly a design from the Galactic Library. The inside of the building was mostly open space, there were quarters for Sands and Smith off to one side, separated from Quirt's by a common area. In Quirt's quarters there was a standard Galactic feeding station and also a comfort station, both adjusted to Gubru requirements. The greater part of the building was full of different perches of different diameters, lengths, and materials. The majority were constructed from a local vegetable material known as "wood". Quirt wondered if the humans knew that among the Gubru such "wooden" perches were very rare, and reserved for only the highest status Gubru.
Something was troubling Quirt. The interior of the building looked familiar, but is should not have looked familiar. With a start Quirt realized it looked very much like the inside of a parrot cage. Insult? Quirt thought for a moment and a different idea took root. These humans had very little direct contact with Quirt's people. The last envoys from the Gubru had left Earth about the time of an unspecified issue with the Pila that had resulted in an upgrade to the Earth Branch of the Galactic Library and the enmity of the Pila. Quirt very much doubted those Gubru had bothered to look at parrot cages or parrots.
The next morning Quirt looked over the electronic equipment supplied by the Human authorities. Everything asked for had been supplied. All of it appeared to be of standard Galactic manufacture optimized for operation by a Gubru. Quirt ran though some standard test routines, everything behaved correctly.
Midday Quirt received a request for a meeting from Robert. The meeting was held in the common area of the building they shared.
Robert began "Research Assistant Quirt we have identified a species of parrot that should meet the requirements set out in your research request. The hyacinth macaw exists in the wild on this continent. This a large parrot, about 1 meter, they live in relatively open areas. They are not naturally aggressive and are quite curious. While these parrots have little interaction with humans, there are no species on Earth that have had no interactions with humans. Transport is available as early as tomorrow, travel time is two hours. Living quarters will be on a river craft that will bring us to the area of interest and carry an additional research support vehicle. The research area is wild, both Chim John and myself will be armed with stunners. For your safety, it may be necessary to give urgent direction without discussion to protect your life and our own."
Quirt replied. "Tomorrow departure is satisfactory. I understand the need for protection from wild animals, I ask why are protective drones not used to accomplish this?"
"Research Assistant Quirt many wild animals on Earth can sense the output of gravtitic levitation technology. Using such devices there would be no parrots present to study." Robert explained.
The transport was a large disk of Galactic design, the only concession to Earth preferences were windows all around. Quirt took a perch near a window and spent pretty much the entire journey there. There were areas of dense population, at first glance the cities looked chaotic, but Quirt was soon able to discern the growth patterns of these cities. The cities were laid out exclusively for ground transportation, xe noticed two types of roads, some were broad and flat, some were narrow with two parallel lines. There were also long rectangular paved areas, though some of these looked to be abandoned. Quirt saw an unusual flying machine, it was a long tube, there were projections out to the sides, large near the apparent direction of travel, smaller at the other end. This was the only time Quirt asked Robert a question during the journey. Robert informed him that the flying machine used pre-contact technology, they were still preferred for transport by some people, and there was also considerable interest by hobbyists.
In the the second hour of the flight they left populated areas behind. Some of what Quirt saw was recently de-populated, the outlines of old roads and buildings could seen from the air even though they were covered by vegetation. They came at the last to an area that looked fallow, as if it had never been touched by the hand of man. There was one of the long rectangular areas, several of the pre-contact flying machines were there, also an odd rectangular object. They landed and Robert indicated the odd rectangular object was their destination.
Quirt asked Robert "Assistant Robert Sands is this another of your pre-contact vehicles? This could only move by gravititics, would it not also effect the parrots?"
Robert replied. "Research Assistant Quirt the vehicle is copy of a type of riverboat used about 600 years ago on rivers like this one. The vessel is driven by the large paddle-wheel at the stern when it is in the water. It can operate in extremely shallow water, allowing it to get very close to the banks of the river. Yes, it has gravititic levitation, but only to move it from here to the river, or to free the vessel if it becomes grounded."
The vessel was large, with accommodations for many persons. Quirt realized they were the only passengers, and had been the only passengers on the larger craft that brought them here. There was the familiar whine of gravititic lifters, and the vessel rose. The trip to the river was brief, but Quirt was fascinated by the heavy jungle and the riot of plant life. The vessel came to the river, it was farther to the other side of the river than it was back to their landing spot. The vessel settled into the water and the gravititc whine ceased. Soon Quirt noticed they were moving, the only sounds were a splashing coming from the stern. Quirt left his perch and walked towards the stern. He then saw the purpose for odd construction at the stern. "Paddle wheel" had meant nothing to Quirt, xe knew then the meaning was literal, the great paddles came up out of the water glistening with river water and went down again to push the riverboat forward. The operation was obvious, but more primitive than anything xe had ever seen or heard of before.
Quirt went forward and perched on the side closest to the river bank. Xe saw numerous small animals, some on the banks or actually in the water. Quirt started when xe saw the first parrot. It was much smaller and colored differently than the ones they were looking for, none the less it gave Quirt a feeling of accomplishment to see xyrs first wild parrot. Quirt spent a lot time watching the river bank slowly pass by. It was pleasant, Quirt remembered Robert mentioning the riverboat was often used for pleasure excursions.
The land gradually changed, the jungle retreated from the banks. The land near the river was turning into a marshy grassland with scattered trees. Quirt watched closely, this was the habitat of the parrots they were going to study. Quirt glanced up and saw Chim John Smith on a high point on the boat with a device up to his eyes, scanning the bank. He moved his hand and Robert said into a portable device "All stop". The riverboat came to a halt. The current gently brought the boat over to the bank. There was a long ramp at the bow, it swung over and touched the bank. Two neo-chimpanzee crew members went on shore, lines were thrown to them followed by heavier lines. In short order the boat was secured. At this time the crane that had swung the ramp to shore picked up an odd looking ground vehicle with an extensible arm and platform on it. Quirt noticed the vehicle had several perches on it. Once the crane was clear, Robert and Chim John went over to the vehicle and it raised up off the ground slightly and it leveled itself. Quirt left the riverboat, a comment about gravititics came to mind, but when Quirt got close xe noticed there was no sound of any kind from the vehicle. Chim John moved some controls and the arm lifted up and extended. Quirt noticed the platform could be moved in any direction at the end of the arm, all in total silence.
Quirt asked "Assistant Robert Sands, how does it work in silence?
Robert replied "Electromagnetic levitation, it has many limitations, and will not lift the vehicle much higher than it is now, but it operates in total silence. The mobile platform was designed for the type of research you wish do to."
Quirt was silent. "Another technology that may not exist beyond this planet." Quirt thought to himself.
Quirt climbed onboard the lower part of the mobile platform. Robert went to the front of the platform and started pulling the platform along. Chim John was on the high platform with his scanner. They moved very slowly and very quietly. The sounds of wild lands were around them. Calls of small animals, movement sounds of larger creatures, the rustling of the slight breeze. The platform stopped, Quirt looked up. Chim John was making a series of hand motions. Quirt looked at Robert, after a moment Robert made similar motions as well.
Robert spoke "Research Assistant Quirt there is a hyacinth macaw in the top of this tree. Make no sudden motions. The macaw will see me first, then Chim John, then you."
Chim John lowered the mobile platform. Quirt and Robert got aboard. Quirt took a perch and the platform moved slowly and quietly upwards. Robert made hand motions, and the platform slowed to a crawl. The branches went past and then the hyacinth macaw was in sight.
Quirt was in shock. Pictures had not prepared him for what he saw. Was it a god? Or was it a monster? A gigantic beak that could crush Quirt to death with little effort, huge misshapen claws, royal blue plumage, each feather outlined in iridescence. No one spoke. The silence drew on. Then the macaw looked at Quirt with its head turned sideways. The macaw said "Hello" in perfect Anglic. Quirt waited. The macaw did not speak again. The bird seemed to loose interest in the silence.
Quirt spoke "Hello my friend". At the sound of the voder Quirt saw shock and outrage in the stance of the macaw. With a deafening "SQUAWK!" and a sudden explosion of iridescent blue feathers the parrot was gone.
Quirt slumped dejectedly over on the perch. After some time Robert inquired "Research Assistant Quirt, do you require assistance?"
Quirt spoke "Thank you Assistant Robert Sands, I do not require assistance. I am concerned that we may be unable to proceed if I can not communicate with you in the presence of these birds." Even to Quirt's alien companions it was clear Quirt was crestfallen.
Quirt observed more hand motions between Robert and Chim John. Quirt asked "What form of communication are you using?"
Robert answered. "Research Assistant Quirt it is Anglic Sign Language, it is a version of American Sign Language that was developed before contact to communicate with those that could not speak, could not hear, or both. I should inform you that both Chim John and myself understand Galactic 3 and 4. I can speak a few words in Galactic 4 as well. We can communicate via Galactic 3 or 4 on your part, and Anglic or Galactic 7 on our part without the use of the voder at all."
Quirt was surprised. Then it occurred to Quirt these were much more than mere "guards". Quirt asked "May I inquire what your official positions are here on Earth? Chim John Smith, please answer as well. I just realized you have not said a single word aloud since we met."
Robert spoke first. "Research Assistant Quirt I am Professor Robert Sands, I have advanced degrees in anthropology and paleontology. I am an administrator for the Terragens Center for Uplift, my area of speciality is exploring possible enhancements for humanity, to a great extent I am your counterpart here on Earth."
Chim John "Research Assistant Quirt I am Professor John Smith. I am Professor of Ornithology (study of Earth avians) at the University of La Paz. The mobile platform is a part of my research equipment for the study of birds."
Quirt "I thought I was being provided with guards, it appears I have been provided with colleagues instead. You are both qualified to do research of this type by yourselves, why are you here with me?"
Robert "Research Assistant Quirt your request to visit Earth specifying the nature and purpose for your research was routed both to my desk and that of Professor Smith. We both affirmed this to be a legitimate area of research and offered our services to assist you. Be aware one reason to assist you was to verify your interest in this research was genuine, and you had the background to do this research. Another reason was that the opportunity to have Earth birds studied by a being descended from birds was unique and might never occur again."
Quirt thought for a moment. "I accept your offer that we communicate without the voder. I consider our status to be colleagues, you may refer to me as Professor Quirt, with your permission I will refer to you as Professor Sands and Professor Smith."
Both Robert and Chim John agreed with the title of "Professor" for the three of them.
Quirt asked "Professor Smith, will the parrot return?"
Chim John replied "Yes, I expect the bird to return shortly. The macaw's curiosity will overcome it being startled."
Quirt "Professor Smith there was very little information about parrots in the Sector Library at Tanith. Can you tell me more of their history?"
Chim John "The first bird fossils discovered with features directly related to the parrot family appeared approximately 60 million years ago. They are believed to have diversified from an avian survivor of the K-Pg extinction event and have been found on all major continents other than Antarctica. We have written records of parrots talking extending back 2600 years."
Quirt asked "What was the K-Pg extinction event?"
Robert took over "The K-Pg extinction event was triggered by the impact of an planetoid about 15 kilometers in diameter 66 million years ago approximately 2000 kilometers North of here. 75% of all life on the planet died, much of it within the first day. All large animals died, both on land and in the sea. All the animals existing now diversified from small animals that managed to survive."
Quirt said "Professor Sands I am surprised such large planetoids were still impacting this planet that late in this planet's history."
Robert "There are an immense number of planetoids between the orbit of the fourth planet and the fifth planet in this system. The prevalent theory for their existence is that a planet should have formed in that orbit, but for unknown reasons never did. The orbits of these planetoids can become disturbed by other objects as they pass by them, sometimes this sends them into a new orbit that intersects the Earth. It is believed this is only one of several extinctions on Earth caused by the impact of a large planetoid."
At that point the conversation ended as the macaw returned to the tree.
Quirt had his equipment in operation, the bird seemed unconcerned.
Quirt said Galactic 3 "Professor Sands, Professor Smith could one of you say something to the bird in Anglic?"
Chim John said "I am John, who are you?"
The great blue parrot preened his feathers. The bird took a more upright stance. This was the stance Quirt had seen in the parrots that seemed to be deliberately communicating.
With great dignity the parrot said "I am the Walrus".
Quirt's instruments showed something unexpected. They indicated the bird was deliberately lying. When Quirt looked up the word "Walrus" he was more confused as it was a large sea going mammal with no obvious relation to the parrot in any way. Quirt heard some odd sounds. Robert had his hand over his mouth. His breathing was very strange and his head and neck were discolored. Quirt looked back to the parrot, it was watching Robert closely. Now Quirt's instruments showed only normal levels of animal mental activity associated with minor interest.
Robert recovered and said "Professor Quirt we should move farther from the riverbank, this bird has obviously had considerable contact with people." As he finished it looked like he was going to cover his mouth again.
At that point the parrot said "No". Quirt's instruments did not indicate this was a deliberate response, but the bird's stance was the same as the prior response the instrument indicated was deliberate.
Quirt said "Professor Sands, the bird is here and is responsive. Much of my research involves the anatomical mechanism the bird uses to speak. Time here will be well spent".
The parrot said "Good idea!"
Quirt's instruments showed a deliberate response. Quirt was confused, xe had responded in Galactic 3, a language the bird would have never heard before.
Chim John spoke "Professor Quirt, you are right, we should stay. This bird is unusually talkative for this species of parrot. Be aware our research has shown parrots may understand the grammar of a language without necessarily understanding the words themselves".
Quirt asked "Professor Sands why did you react that way to the bird's reply to Professor Smith's question?"
Robert took a breath "Professor Quirt it is a line from a nonsense song by very popular musical group from about 500 years ago. Their music is still played today. No one is sure what the words mean, or if they ever had any meaning."
Chim John suddenly said "Oh no!"
Quirt looked over and now Chim John had his hand over his mouth. Quirt thought to himself that it must have been very popular nonsense to be spoken by a bird in a jungle 500 years later.
They got a few more responses from the bird, but both Quirt and Chim John decided the bird was getting bored. The light was starting to fail and Robert led the platform back to where the riverboat was tied up. Once onboard Quirt reviewed his instruments. There were recordings of the internal structures the bird used to pronounce Anglic, also recordings of the bird's mental processes during their "conversation". Quirt was puzzled, he wondered if there was such a thing as intermittent sapience as his reading were very inconsistent.
The next day they returned to the same location. Shortly after the platform was raised up to the level where the bird had perched yesterday a macaw flew up and landed. Quirt's instruments indicated it was the same bird.
The bird looked at Quirt and said "Hello".
Both the bird's stance and Quirt's instruments indicated this was deliberate communication.
Chim John spoke. "Hello, are you the Walrus?"
The bird said "No, I am a good boy."
Quirt's eyes and instruments both told him this deliberate and truthful.
About this time another macaw appeared. It landed and immediately said "Hello".
This time both the new bird's posture and the instruments indicated this was without meaning.
The second bird seemed to ignore them, but as soon as Quirt asked Chim John a question it showed interest. The original bird also was interested in Quirt talking. Quirt was busy with his instruments. A few more words were spoken by the original bird, the second bird had nothing to say, but was now interested in what the researchers were doing. Another day ended, and Quirt had more contradictory information to review. Quirt hoped they encountered more macaws, two birds would not be a sufficient sample.
The next few days were much the same. The original bird would appear when the platform reached the proper height, sometimes a second bird would join them, it was not always the same bird. A week later the platform reached the correct height. A bird approached the perch that the original bird used. It circled once, let out a cry and landed. Quirt confirmed it was the same bird they met that first day. Something about the bird call seemed odd to Quirt. It left his mind when in short order four other birds landed. They spent some time chattering to each other. Quirt's instruments indicated they were communicating.
To Quirt it appeared to be a combination the bird's calls and also changes in their stance and movements. Some of it looked like acknowledgment of status upon first meeting among Quirt's own people. Quirt held on to the thought that these were alien animals, the motions and vocalizations could mean anything or nothing.
The birds settled down and then became quiet. Quirt wondered if they were studying xem and xyrs companions this time. Quirt now had a larger sample of macaws and was quite busy with his instruments. Quirt would occasionally have a question the Robert or Chim John.
Chim John said "Professor Quirt, I suggest you look at these birds and begin speaking. A summary of your findings might be appropriate, but you should see how the birds react when you speak."
Quirt looked at the birds and began to speak "Professor Smith the readings I get are still inconsistent, however when the group of birds landed their calls and motions were interpreted as communication. It looked much like a display of status among my own people."
By the time Quirt stopped talking all five birds were looking xe in total silence with their heads turned sideways. In the days after this there were always three to six macaws present when the platform was raised next to the tree were they met their first macaw.
It was raining, it had been raining for several days. The riverboat was midstream in the river. Twice Quirt had heard the whine of gravititics as the boat lifted out of the water to let large debris pass underneath. Quirt used the time to review the data they had gathered so far. The data for parrot physiology was straightforward. Quirt now had many examples of parrots speaking Anglic, however the mental processes behind the speech still were chaotic and showed no discernible pattern. Quirt reviewed recordings of parrots speaking. The internal structure they used to create words looked little different than Quirt's vocal apparatus. If the comparison was valid, Quirt should be able to pronounce Anglic words as well. Quirt entered this in a datawell so the thought would not be lost and returned to trying unravel parrot mental states.
The door chimed and Quirt signaled "accept".
Robert came in "Professor Quirt, the rain should cease in a short time. The river is high and over the banks at our original research site. There should be suitable areas for observing these macaws on the far side of the river, the bank is higher there."
Quirt agreed with the change in location and the riverboat turned and headed for the far shore. The weather cleared and Quirt left the stateroom and took a perch and watched the approaching bank. The bank was 5 meters above the level of the river, Quirt went to a perch on the upper deck to see the land beyond the bank. This was true jungle, dense, with what Robert said were game trails through it. Quirt looked up and Chim John was up in what was called "the crow's nest". The riverboat slowed and the ramp was swung over onto the bank. This time a large "anchor" was put in the river ahead of the riverboat, to keep position. The open area that was potential hyacinth macaw habitat was inland about a kilometer. Robert found a break in the jungle wide enough for the research platform and they traveled slowly forward. The jungle closed in and Quirt heard "YOWL!" and a large shape leaped towards xem. Chim John was in front of Quirt at once. Chim John's stunner buzzed and the animal hit Chim John and knocked him down. The beast dropped as well. For a moment neither of the fallen moved. Robert came over, as did Quirt. Chim John said "I am OK, though I will be sore for some time. Professor Sands, please check the condition of the jaguar." Quirt looked at the beast and saw a large spotted animal, powerfully built with fearsome jaws.
Robert spoke "The jaguar will be fine. It will be weak and sick for a brief time, but that is all." Robert and Chim John picked up the animal and removed it from the platform and took it into the jungle. When they returned Robert said "Professor Quirt the jaguar is a solitary hunter, there should not be another near by."
They reached a break in the jungle that opened out into a large marshy plain. Soon Chim John located a tree with a macaw perched in it. They moved up to the tree and the platform slowly came up to the level of the perched macaw. The bird looked at them with what seemed indifference, Quirts instruments indicated much more was going on. The bird took off and flew above their location and made a number of squawks and landed again. Soon a second macaw landed, then a third. Quirt saw what xe thought of as a status display again. Quirt was busy with xyrs instruments for awhile. These were a different group of parrots, and he was looking for differences from the first group on the other side of the river.
Another macaw landed, it looked directly at Quirt and said "Hello". Quirt's instruments indicated it was communicating, so did it it's stance, something Quirt paid a lot of attention to now.
Chim John said "Hello, I am John, who are you?"
The macaw looked at him and said "I am Paul."
Quirts instruments indicated a deliberate, truthful response. Xe heard Robert say softly "Not again."
Quirt said "Professor Sands, what do you mean, not again?"
Chim John answered instead "Professor Quirt, perhaps you should look at the parrots and say something."
Quirt looked up. The birds were all looking at xem. Quirt said "Professor Smith this is the behavior we observed among the first group of macaws. There seem to be quite a number of these birds that speak Anglic."
Chim John replied "The style and pronunciation used by this macaw are very similar to that of the first macaw."
Robert "Professor Quirt this macaw may have learned Anglic from the same individual as the first. The name this macaw used may be related to the use of 'Walrus' by the first macaw as well."
Robert tilted his head, he was still for a moment. He raised his head and by now Quirt recognized human expression enough to know Robert was unhappy. There was exchange of hand signals between Chim John and Robert. Robert spoke "Professor Quirt, we need to return to the riverboat. We have just received instructions that we need to confirm before we can proceed further."
Quirt was in xyrs stateroom on the riverboat. Xe was reviewing the latest data, there still seemed to be something important missing with what they had collected so far. The door chimed, Quirt signaled "accept".
Robert entered and said "Race Enhancement Research Assistant Quirt a Gubru/-ab Gooksyu-ab Kooyio-ab Ot'ahh/-ul Kwackoo-ul Okukoo open conflict has broken out between clan Gooksyu-Gubru and Earthclan. Under these conditions, you are to be interned. Your electronic equipment will be confiscated." Robert paused for a moment "Professor Quirt you have done nothing in your time here except study parrots, I will attempt to get your electronic equipment released to you. You will be provided with another voder when you reach internment. A Kanten with the Institute for Progress had agreed to be an intermediary for you, they will meet you there."
Quirt replied "Professor Sands I did not expect it would come to this, but I did agree to the terms put forward. Professor Sands I know this your duty." Quirt got down off the perch and stepped away from the datawell, multi-analizer and the rest of xyrs research equipment. Chim John and two chims from the crew came in. All gave him a deep formal bow appropriate from a junior client to a patron of a senior clan. They shut everything down and it was packed up under Chim John's supervision.
As they were leaving Chim John stopped and said "Professor Quirt, both Professor Sands and myself will attest that you studied parrots, and nothing but parrots while you were here."
Quirt replied "Thank you Professor Smith, but I fear the end to all this is out of our hands."
Quirt was interned in the same building xe had used on Quirt's first day on Earth. There were guards with stunners outside the building and several quartered in the section Robert and Chim John had used when Quirt stayed here before. The guards constantly patrolled outside the building. After the first day Quirt was sure they were there to protect xem as much as to confine xem. After another two days Quirt was notified xe would have an official visitor.
The Kanten said "Greetings Race Enhancement Research Assistant Quirt a Gubru/-ab Gooksyu-ab Kooyio-ab Ot'ahh/-ul Kwackoo-ul Okukoo, I am Kanten Tau 17.
Quirt replied "Kanten Tau 17 a Kanten/-ab Linten -ab Sigul/ -ul Nish I see you. I respectfully ask what is the purpose of this visit?"
Tau 17 replied "Race Enhancement Research Assistant Quirt I will update you on your current status and the steps being taken to modify that status. A message has been sent to clan Gubru through my position with the Institute for Progress informing them you have been interned. No one believes you came here to do anything other than to study parrots. Due to the open conflict, the Terragens authorities must take certain precautions in order to fulfil their duty. Your electronic equipment will be returned after examination if the contents match the stated purpose of your visit. If your equipment is returned you will be allowed visits from Professor Sands and Professor Smith."
Quirt asked "Kanten Tau 17, does anyone know the reason for open warfare?"
The Kanten replied "No, Race Enhancement Research Assistant Quirt. There are rumors, but they are contradictory and follow the beliefs of the clan that generated them."
The Kanten returned every other day to talk with Quirt. Tau 17 asked questions about the results of Quirt's research to date, Quirt told him there were no conclusions as the information formed no detectable pattern. After a month Quirt's electronic equipment was returned to him. While Quirt had no new information, Qurit had plenty of time to correlate the information xe did have. The mental processes of the parrots remained elusive, something important was missing and Quirt came to the conclusion a much larger sample of parrots would be required. What was becoming clear was the physiological basis for the parrot's ability to speak.
Quirt began attempts to mimic Anglic sounds. This was accepted as impossible among Qurit's people, most communication with those outside clan Gubru was via voder. Quirt persisted, xe would look at deep scan images of parrots speaking, then attempt to reproduce the sounds. The process was tiring and frustrating, but it gave Quirt a focus beyond xyrs confinement. Quirt's first intelligible Anglic word was followed by several days to rest from the unaccustomed use of xyrs muscles. Quirt decided on the next words xe would learn when Kanten Tau 17 informed Quirt xe would be visited by Robert.
Four days later The door chimed and Quirt signaled "accept".
Robert entered. Quirt made a display of removing the voder and setting it down.
Quirt said in Anglic "Hello".
Robert said "Professor Quirt, I was informed Gubru were unable to form the necessary sounds for many Galactic languages or for Anglic. Have I been misinformed?"
Quirt picked up the voder and reactivated it. "Professor Sands, it appears we did not know how to make these sounds, rather than being incapable of making them."
Robert asked "Can you say other words in Anglic?"
Quirt shuffled about slightly on the perch and said "I am the Walrus."
Robert sat down suddenly. After a moment he realized his mouth was open. He closed it with a snap.
Quirt went back to using the voder. "Professor Sands, the phrase seemed appropriate as these were the first words spoken to me by a parrot. Do you have any information about the conflict in space?"
Robert replied "Professor Sands no one knows what is going on. The main result of the investigation of your electronic equipment and the testimony of Professor Smith and myself has been to generate considerable interest in your line of research. Efforts are being made to find a way to allow you to resume your research, though I have no idea how long this may take."
Quirt replied "Professor Sands I want to thank you and Professor Smith for your support. If you will be able to visit again I would like your assistance in an area of research that I can continue here."
Robert replied "Professor Sands your research is considered of sufficient value that both Professor Smith and myself will be able to visit on a regular basis."
Quirt said "Professor Sands that will be most satisfactory. Part of what I require assistance with are Anglic lessons. That parrot was very talkative, but had a limited vocabulary."
Both Robert and Chim John visited Quirt regularly over the next few weeks. Quirt's Anglic improved, but Quirt was still building up the muscles involved with this unusual activity. Quirt could now do several simple sentences in a row before needing to rest.
Quirt told Robert and Chim John about needing a larger sample of parrots. As a stop gap Chim John agreed to return to the study area with Quirt's equipment to get readings from other parrots. Chim John was back a little over a week later with authorization for Quirt to travel "as needed" as long as he was accompanied by Professors Sands and Smith.
Chim John explained why. "Professor Quirt when I returned to the study area I found numerous parrots using Galactic 3 at a high pre-sapient level. As soon as my recordings were heard by other persons that understood Galactic 3 your conditional release was expedited."
Chim John then played a recording. Quirt clearly heard parrots speaking. Mostly it was individual words "here here" "no no" "away away" "stop stop" "no no" and others used the same way. This was a recognizable pre-sapient pattern of vocalization except these were actual words.
Chim John said "Both the actions of the birds and your equipment showed conscious use of these words and knowledge of their meaning. I visited several areas, more parrots used these words than we encountered in our researches, they appear to be teaching other parrots to use them as well."
Quirt remembered the cry the one parrot had used early in their studies, after hearing these recordings Quirt thought the parrots had started learning Galactic 3 shortly after hearing it for the first time.
Quirt reviewed all the recordings Chim John collected. There was definite indication the parrots were communicating, both from xyrs instruments and from the birds body language. Quirt looked closely at the data from xyrs instruments, something was still missing. Quirt had a sudden thought, now the data fit a possible pattern.
Quirt turned to Chim John and asked "Professor Smith you mentioned the first parrot fossils were located a few million years after the K-Pg extinction, it never occurred to me to ask, how many different species of parrots are there?"
Chim John replied "390 in 92 genera. The bird we have studied, the hyacinth macaw is the largest at about one meter, the pygmy parrot is about 8 centimeters long."
Quirt then said "We should study some other species of parrots now. I suspect an ancestor of the parrot species was subjected to Uplift. The Uplift was abandoned for some reason and these birds have differentiated from an Uplifted or partially Uplifted ancestor. "
It was quiet in the building. Abandoning Uplift was a crime, quite serious. Many Galactic clans believed humanity in its present form was the result of abandoned Uplift, there was still effort being made to identify the "criminals".
Robert spoke "I can see your thinking Professor Quirt, some of the various species of parrots have been separated for a very long time, the degree of divergence of Uplift related traits will give a time frame of when the Uplift attempt was made. This is a serious matter, I will refer your hypothesis to the Terragens Council. Unfortunately there may be another delay before you can resume field research."
Kanten Tau 17 had continued to visit, though not as often now that Quirt was in direct contact with Robert and Chim John. The Kanten was impressed with Quirt's progress speaking Anglic.
Tau 17 said "I am pleased to hear you speak Anglic. This a new thing, what my institute is set up protect and encourage. One of the reasons stated for your research in your application was to determine if Gubru vocal physiology could be modified to allow a broader range of languages without the use on technology. How long would it have been before such changes might have been implemented?"
Quirt "A thousand years, possibly more, if a decision was made this would provide an advantage. With what have I found, it is now a matter of training rather than physical modification and could be done as soon as the value of this ability is acknowledged. Kanten Tau 17 the Humans claim they evolved to sapience without Uplift. Do you have an opinion on this belief?"
Tau 17 replied "I have been on Earth for quite some time. Yes, I think might be possible. Before contact they did excellent research on their planet's history, they have fossil records going back to the first appearance of life on this planet, and have equally through evidence of the geological evolution of the planet itself."
Quirt "Due to my position working on Race Enhancement I am allowed more latitude in my thinking and my beliefs. I too believe it might be possible the Humans evolved sapience. There is no evidence in the slightest of Galactic influence before contact, at each turn I find technology, ways of thought, and solutions to problems that may exist nowhere but Earth."
Tau 17 "Then you understand why I enjoy these people so much."
Robert and Chim John came back with more recordings of hyacinth macaws this time from from a different area, far from the river. When Quirt studied these recordings they were much like the initial recordings Quirt made before Quirt began talking to Robert and Chim John in Galactic 3. Quirt compared the recordings of macaws making calls and occasional words in Anglic to when the macaws used Galactic 3. Now Quirt could see a difference. It was clear to Quirt Galactic 3 had been imprinted into the macaw's DNA, this was a very old Uplift technique, seldom used now. It would also be a definite marker to track back to when the Uplift was attempted.
Robert "Professor Quirt, your conditional release is confirmed. Professor Smith and myself will continue as your assistants. Professor Smith has suggested Australia as a site for further research, the continent has been isolated for a very long time and there are numerous types of native parrots. If this is satisfactory, transport will be arranged within a week."
Quirt replied "Professor Sands, Australia is acceptable. References I have seen to Australia since I arrived on Earth indicate there are many unique lifeforms there."
The journey to their departure location was different this time. They traveled in an enclosed vehicle on the ground and several of the guards from Quirt's building accompanied them. Another disk with windows was their transport. There were other passengers this time, after a quick glance they did not look at Quirt again.
Australia fascinated Quirt. Much of what he saw of the native animals seemed not like another continent, but like another planet. Some of the behavior of the parrots they encountered was bizarre or just outrageous. A white parrot with a crest on the head that it could raise and lower threw things at Quirt from up on a building. It also cursed at Quirt in archaic Anglic. Both Robert and Chim John were horrified, Quirt found it rather amusing. Less amusing was their meeting with a tame "Cockatoo" as these parrots were called. As soon as the bird saw Quirt it raised its crest, opened its wings, and screamed "GET OUT!" Robert and Chim John returned without Quirt in view but the bird remained hostile.
Their first encounter with budgerigars was just the opposite. The little birds came up to the edge of their enclosure, none of them spoke in Anglic, but their posture and calls seemed friendly and welcoming. Quirt asked about the name, Chim John said it was supposedly a word in an indigenous language that could be translated as "good to eat". Chim John then told Quirt that these birds could be trained to talk, and often had very large vocabularies. Quirt was surprised, the volume of the brains of these birds was minuscule, they displayed many advanced social behaviors and were very alert to their surroundings, how could they speak as well?
Quirt said "Professor Smith I would be interested in examining some of these small "good to eat" parrots that can speak Anglic. The ones here function at a very high level considering the size of their brains."
A week later a meeting was arranged with a local "budgie" owner that claimed her bird could talk. The owner was also able to pass a security check. This was the first private home Quirt had been in on Earth. The building was wood and stone. According to Robert it was not all that old, just built using mostly pre-contact materials and methods. The female man invited them in. The bird's owner said "Race Enhancement Research Assistant Quirt a Gubru/-ab Gooksyu-ab Kooyio-ab Ot'ahh/-ul Kwackoo-ul Okukoo welcome to my home I am Janet Grey."
"Janet Grey a Human -ul Chimpanzee -ul Dolphin thank you for allowing us to conduct our research here." Quirt replied. By now Quirt expected the inside of the building would match nothing xe had ever seen or heard of. The floors and walls were wood and much of the furnishings appeared to be hand made. Other than a few electronic devices there was no Galactic influence at all. They were led to the back of a large room. The budgie was in a cage, the cage looked quite large for such a small bird, and various brightly colored objects were hanging in the cage with the bird. Quirt noticed a slight resemblance to the quarters xe had been interned in. Quirt looked at the budgie, the bird looked back at him.
Quirt said "Hello, I am Quirt"
The bird said nothing.
Janet said "Race Enhancement Research Assistant Quirt, Fredrick will probably join in if we begin a conversation."
Quirt said "Janet Grey my Anglic is still limited, Professor Sands, Professor Smith, could you describe what we have been doing?"
The conversation that followed described Quirt's original research goals, nothing was said about the possibility the parrot's ancestors had been Uplifted.
Quirt was able to add to the conversation now and then, but quickly became tired from speaking Anglic.
Suddenly the little bird said "I am Fredrick. I am a good boy. You are my friend."
As the conversation continued the little bird spoke more and more. Quirt's instruments were recording everything. The "interview" ended. Quirt now had information on budgies speaking Anglic. Over the next two weeks they "interviewed" several more talking budgies, a few refused to talk at all, others talked more than Fredrick did. The next step was to introduce Galactic 3 to several budgies to see if it was spread to other budgies. They found out a group of wild budgies were being sent to South America in several weeks to increase the genetic diversity of the pet budgies there. This would prevent Galactic 3 from spreading to wild budgies in Australia. As news of Quirt's research spread they had numerous invitations to meet tame parrots of many types. Some talked, some did not, and some wanted nothing to do with Quirt at all.
They returned to South America on the same disk, or one just like it. The imported budgies and their caretakers met Quirt at his original quarters. They were separated into two groups, one group would be exposed to Galactic 3 the other would not. The test group of budgies learned Galactic 3 quickly and easily. Unlike the macaws, they used it no differently than they did Anglic. The birds could mimic Quirts pronunciation perfectly. At times the nonsense the birds said had both Robert and Chim John laughing, once Quirt assured them xe took no offence from their laughter. Quirt's recordings showed a different pattern of mental responses than the macaws that were using Galactic 3. The two groups of budgies were then allowed to mingle again and the "control" birds quickly learned Galactic 3 from the test subjects. Galactic 3 was "in the wild" in South America, a few budgies that spoke it as well would not alter things significantly.
Chim John said "Professor Quirt, if you wish I can make arrangements for you to teach Galactic 3 to an African Grey Parrot that speaks Anglic. These birds are quite intelligent and can understand and use many words in Anglic in the proper context. The original research outline emphasized study of wild parrots, but the circumstances have changed."
Quirt had inquired about the parrot in the old recording that said "talk clearly" at just the right time, and had been informed it was an African Grey. Quirt said "Professor Smith that is an excellent idea. This is no longer pure research, but an investigation."
The African Grey learned Galactic 3 quickly. Quirt was very troubled by the result. It was as if Quirt were talking to a person, perhaps a small child of Quirt's own race that had somehow grown strange and feral. The recordings of the bird's mental activity for the first time matched perfectly the speech and body language of the bird. This was not like a pre-sapient animal, but more like a sapient being with arrested development. They now had enough samples to track back the differences between the various parrots. The simulation at first made no sense to Quirt, as it went back further than the earliest parrot fossils mentioned by Chim John. Chim John then informed him that other birds could mimic words or other sounds.
The raven looked at Quirt. After a moment it said in clear but rapid Anglic "Go to hell". The bird turned away and would cooperate with Quirt no further. When Quirt spoke to the bird in Galactic 3 it appeared to ignore xem, Quirt's instruments indicated there was much more going on.
The information from that raven and several other ravens was added in, as was information gathered from several lyrebirds present in South America. The lyrebirds mimicked many sounds, but used words in no coherent fashion. The one exposed to Galactic 3 made no attempt to speak and showed no change in its mental processes.
Another simulation was run, it went right back to the K-Pg extinction event. At this point Robert's knowledge of Paleontology came to the fore as he described how different Earth was prior to the K-Pg extinction event. Trying to determine signs of Uplift in a scattered fossil record from 60 million years or more ago appeared to be unlikely at best. When Quirt asked about the Galactic Library, Robert said the last entry for Earth was from 248 million years ago. Something about this comment set off a faint warning bell in Quirt's mind.
It was lost when Robert suddenly said. "There is news about the conflict in space. Both Professor Smith and myself have been summoned for a briefing on the current situation. Your Kanten intermediary has requested to see you as soon as possible. Let us all hope for good tidings."
Robert was back early the next day. "Professor Quirt I have been informed there is now a truce between clan Gooksyu-Gubru and Earthclan. The Gubru have withdrawn from all contact with Terragens forces and our colonial forces." Robert added."This changes your official status back to that of a guest researcher, but in practical terms little will change. You will still need to be escorted, and will continue to have guards, though I believe you realized some time ago they were primarily for your protection."
Quirt replied "Thank you for this information Professor Sands. I was quite surprised there had been open conflict, while I was aware of open dislike for Earthclan, there seemed to have been no reason for actual armed conflict."
Robert "Ask ten individuals and you will get ten different answers. It may be quite sometime before it is clear what has actually happened."
Robert left and later that day Kanten Tau 17 arrived.
Tau 17 spoke "Race Enhancement Research Assistant Quirt a Gubru/-ab Gooksyu-ab Kooyio-ab Ot'ahh/-ul Kwackoo-ul Okukoo I bear tidings from clan Gooksyu-Gubru. I regret the significance is unclear to me but I will repeat exactly as I was told. There has been a stress molt, a Royal Blue male. The Queen is the Surezain of Propriety, the consensus is propriety, the eggs are fertile."
Quirt was stiff with shock. A stress molt was the very last defence to insure the continuance of the race. Something horrific had happened out in space. Quirt thought to himself "Propriety? What did my people do?" Quirt had been quite aware the Gurbu followed the rules as it benefited them, or when others were watching. Quirt had disapproved, believing it would eventually lead to problems.
Quirt replied "Kanten Tau 17 a Kanten/-ab Linten -ab Sigul/ -ul Nish thank you for this information. I will need time to consider the information you have provided to me. Is there any other information about the conflict in space?"
Tau 17 "It is said the Thennanin are now allied with Earthclan, and will be sending ships to help defend Earth. I consider this to be quite possible, at one time they had offered to take humanity as a client race to better prepare them for Galactic society. They consider Humanity to be rough and uncouth, but have little or no actual hatred for Humans."
Quirt thought Earthclan's chances to survive had just increased dramatically. The Thennanin were known for being sanctimonious, officious, and rule bound, but they were also brave, honest, and fair. They were also a powerful senior clan known for putting up a very tough fight.
Quirt continued collating the information they had gathered from the various birds. Quirt met another African Grey. This one picked up Galactic 3 almost immediately. Quirt was able to communicate with this bird as if xe were talking with a 3 year old of Quirt's own race. As Quirt left the bird told xem the Galactic 3 version of "Goodbye". Quirt had been told the lifespan of an African Grey could be as much as 60 years. For a moment Quirt thought of the bird not as an alien research subject, but as a young child denied the opportunity to ever grow up.
Robert returned with further information. The Gubru now were offering an actual official peace. Earthclan would no longer be a registered "official enemy" of clan Gubru. The Gubru would cooperate with an investigation of some of their actions, and requested investigation and arbitration by a neutral party of the indemnity they acknowledged to be due as a result of their actions.
Quirt was surprised. The terms indicated the Gubru had been caught in serious misdeeds, in a fashion that could not be concealed. Quirt hoped that more information about what had happened in space would become available if the peace offer was accepted.
Kanten Tau 17 also returned with a few more details. The Gubru had evacuated the Earthclan leasehold colony Garth, and during the return to the Gubru homeworld the senior stoop-colonel of Beam and Talon began to show signs of molt. At this time the stoop-colonel was the commander of the evacuating Gubru military forces, the Surezain of Beam and Talon having died just prior to the evacuation. The stoop-colonel's molt was investigated once they returned. It was determined to be a sexual molt. The molt was successful, and the Queen's eggs were fertile. The fact the cause of death for the Surezain of Beam and Talon was not specified was of concern to Quirt. The Queen being the Surezain of Propriety, and that also being the basis of the consensus also suggested that the fault that led to this situation belonged to the Gubru themselves. Quirt was left to ponder the future of his people.
Quirt returned to collating his data, in part to think of something other than the danger xyrs people seemed have gotten themselves into. A thought came back to the surface, a comment Robert had made about the last time Earth and been surveyed by the Institute of Migration. Quirt sent a request for a meeting to discuss this.
"Professor Sands you mentioned there had been other major extinctions believed to have been caused by the impact of planetiods, do you know when these occurred?" Quirt asked.
Robert replied "The only other one that is suspected of being caused by a planetiod impact is the P-T extinction, 252 million years ago. 70% of all life on land and 96% of all marine life died, again with some evidence that much of it died rapidly. Several minor extinctions may have been due to planetiod impacts as well."
Quirt answered "Professor Sands you mentioned the last survey of Earth was 248 million years ago, what would they have found?"
Robert looked grave "A devastated planet, only marginally habitable by oxygen breathers, some of the evidence for the cause of the extinction may have still been present."
Quirt "The planet then recovered and the animals diversified by the time of the K-Pg extinction and the process repeated after that?"
Robert "There actually was another major extinction 201 million years ago, the J-T extinction, 70% to 75% of all land animals died, cause unknown."
Quirt "I begin to see a possible reason this planet was ignored. If the Institute of Migration surveyed the planet another time shortly after an extinction event, they may have listed the planet as unsuitable for habitation, but that notation should have been part of the planet's record."
"Admiral Beault I have found additional information about Earth in the ship's library." The ship's librarian stood before Beault on the bridge of Quegsfire, the Thenannin flagship of the relief fleet now in place to aid Earth. Quegsfire had been at the battle of Kithrup, her captain had ordered the librarian to find out more about why Kithrup had been ignored for such a long time. The answer came in the form of a very old scandal, carefully hidden, that required multiple redundant inquiries to unmask. The last entry in the library for Earth was brief mention of a survey by the Institute of Migration 248 million years ago, with no survey results listed. When informed of this Beault ordered the librarian use the same methods that had succeeded uncovering the answers about Kithrup.
The survey 248 million years ago described a planet just starting to recover from an ecological collapse caused by a planetiod collision. Beault had already been informed of the immense number of asteroids and planetoids between the orbits of the fourth and fifth planet, and their probable effect on navigation and detection of incoming vessels. There had been another survey 50 million years later, the planet was again in recovery from another ecological collapse, in both cases the planet was only marginally habitable for oxygen based life.
The next entry for Earth was 135 million years later, about the adoption of a Earth animal for Uplift by the Kra-Than. Earth was then described as a planet teeming with life, exuberant in its diversity. The Institute of Migration recommended against remaining on Earth, as the planet was considered a "catastrophe" planet, as evidence had been discovered of extinction events prior to the two that were actually witnessed. The Kra-Than declared "They would be careful" and put a sizable uplift team on the planet. However they also moved some fallow stock of the client species, a small avian, to another of their worlds for safekeeping, just in case the dire warnings of Migration came true. A thousand years passed, the clients, the "Denock" were being readied for formal stage one acceptance when all contact was lost with Earth. A Kra-Than ship already on its way to Earth came out of hyperspace to find Earth covered in planet-wide fires, and there was a large crater still generating great heat. Conditions on Earth at the time were severe and the planet was nearly uninhabitable. There were no survivors among the Kra-Than on Earth, and no surviving Denock could be found. Investigation by the Institute of Migration determined the asteroids and planetoids between the orbits of the 4th and 5th planet were sometimes disturbed in their orbits and then could collide with Earth. The planet was then listed as "fallow, permanently unsuitable for habitation". The Kra-Than were censured for bad judgment by the Institute for Uplift, though found not guilty of abandoning the Denock. The entries for this embarrassing incident became fewer and harder to find as time passed, the same pattern as seen in the entries for Kithrup. Then the Kra-Than became "accidentally extinct" along with their clan in the "Twelve-Spins War" 6 million years later. Earth and the Denock were forgotten.
Admiral Beault finished listening to the sad history of the Kra-Than. Another embarrassing Uplift failure concealed by the library, but there was still over 60 million years of Earth history that remained unknown.
Beault turned to the librarian "Librarian Dremsev go to every ship of the fleet in turn and determine if the same information is present in each ship's Library. Do not share this information with anyone. Return to me with your results. I will then determine what is to be done." Dremsev bowed and left.
It was 6 months later when Librarian Dremsev returned with his findings. Three ships could not be checked for library entries, two were slowly expanding balls of gas, the other had been damaged enough the ship's library had self-destructed. There was some remaining wreckage from the attackers, but nothing bigger than a human hand. Dremsev gave his report "Admiral Beault all the of the libraries queried gave identical results to the library on Quegsfire."
Beault asked "Librarian Dremsev is it your belief that anyone using the methods you used could discover this information?"
Dremsev "Yes Admiral Beault, the information is there, merely concealed."
Beault "You will visit each ship in turn. I will send orders that each Captain and First Officer must view the information you will provide and then inform me they have viewed the information without disclosing its contents."
Dremsev bowed and left.
Admiral Beault considered his next step. His orders to Dremsev would probably insure the information survived among the Thenannin, and Earthclan's current problems showed the folly of transmitting sensitive information that could be intercepted by all and sundry.
Beault turned to his Communications Officer "I need to arrange a meeting on Earth with a Terragens Uplift official."
Robert greeted Admiral Beault in Galactic 7 "Greetings Beault a Thenannin / -ab Wortl -ab Kosh -ab Rosh -ab Tothtoon / -ul Paimin -ul Rammin -ul Ynnin -ul Olumimun -ul Garthling"
Beault replied in Anglic "Robert Sands a Human -ul Chimpanzee -ul Dolphin I see you. This data cube has important information about your planet's history and past Uplift history." Beault then told Robert what had been found in the libraries aboard the Thenannin warships.
Robert replied "This is important information. In all respect may I inquire why you have decided to share this information?"
Beault answered "Because it is the truth. The method used to discover this information is also included on the data cube, use it with caution. The truth was concealed because it was embarrassing. The clan embarrassed no longer exists. This is the reason why this planet was ignored, but there is still 66 million years without library entries for Earth."
Robert left the meeting with Beault and asked for a meeting with the Terragens council.
Robert spoke to the council. "The information provided by the Thennanin has independently confirmed the conclusions of the research undertaken by Professors Quirt, Smith, and myself. Several holes in our knowledge have been filled, we know the names of the clan that did the Uplift, and that of their Earth clients. I request permission to share the names of the clan and client and why the Uplift was abandoned with Professors Quirt and Smith to aid in our research."
Two weeks later Robert was telling Quirt and Chim John about the Kra-Than and their lost clients the Denock.
Quirt said "Professor Sands I am aware of the Kra-Than, they were Uplifted from flying avians and had retained some ability to fly. I was unaware of the Denock, it was not listed as part their formal name."
Chim John asked some questions about the Kra-Thon, the idea of flying sentient birds fascinated him. Quirt admitted that was all xe knew about the Kra-Thon.
Chim John wiped his eyes again, it was 3 AM. He had suddenly awakened thinking of the fallow avians the Kra-Than had removed to another planet for safekeeping. Fortunately, it was a more reasonable time on the other side of the world where one of his former grad students looked back at him. Chim John spoke "George you are from Califia, did you have much contact with the Echo-bird?"
George replied "Yes, several times, scared out my skin, annoyed, and laughed my head off. Typical reactions to being around those little monsters. Why do you ask?"
Chim John "The pico branch at the University only has information about Earth avians, do you know if any studies were done of the genetic makeup of the Echo-bird?"
George "Yes, the information was submitted to the Galactic Library, it will probably show up in another 100 years or so. If you need the information during your lifetime I can inquire among the community of Califians marooned here on Earth."
Chim John "Please do so George. I'm sorry I can't tell you what this about right now, but I promise I will when I can."
6 months later Chim John was looking at Echo-Bird genetic data recovered from a 60 year old datawell. Chim John thanked the fact there will still people out there than never threw anything away. Chim John turned to Quirt and said "Professor Quirt there are some strong genetic similarities to lyrebirds, computer simulation of the rate of mutation shows the possibility of a common ancestor approximately 60 to 70 million years ago. There are much fewer mutations in the Echo-bird than the lyrebird, but Califia has not had the repeated extinctions Earth has had. I think we have found the fallow stock the Kra-Than moved off planet for safekeeping."
Quirt replied "Professor Smith I agree these are descendants of the fallow stock the Denock were uplifted from. I wonder why the Kra-Than did not attempt to uplift the fallow avians on Califia, there will probably be questions here that are never answered."
Quirt added the genetic information from the Echo-Bird to the data about parrots and other talking birds. It was the final piece, and showed much of what had happened to the Denock. Birds that talked and also showed ability to use tools were descended from Denock survivors. Due to mutation and genetic drift the Uplift traits that had been added to the original fallow species fragmented more and more as time passed. Parrots showed the most remaining uplift traits, but these were also quite fragmented due to the genetic drift and mutation between the different types of parrots. Australian parrots had signs of latent Uplift, but each species seemed to possess a different fragment, and often only one fragment of Uplift. The African Grey Parrot was the least fragmented among any of the birds in the study group, to Quirt with the background information now available, the signs of latent Uplift, or remaining regressed Uplift, were very clear in this parrot .
A few weeks later Quirt received an audio visual that had been sent to Robert. Quirt was unhappy at what he saw and heard. Quirt said to Chim John "Professor Smith I just received this video from Professor Sands of several African Greys using Galactic 3 among themselves. Professor Sands said I should form my own opinion of what I was hearing, I have, and would like your opinion as well."
Chim John listened to the video. He listened a second time as well. Chim John looked at Quirt and said "They sound like a group of young children".
Quirt said "66 million years and they are still waiting to grow up. The rule limiting Uplift on this world is arbitrary and cruel."
Chim John said "The rule will be challenged, if Earthclan survives to register the challenge. The descendants of the Denock survive the strongest in the African Grey, the rules may be seen differently for an abandoned client rather than a species with potential. Professor Quirt, your research is complete. With the blockade of Earth there is no way to predict when you will able to return home. I have two offers that will help pass your time. On Earth, research is presented as a "paper" and submitted for publication. It is then reviewed to determine if it qualifies for publication. Such a paper about the Denock could not be presented until the political situation has stabilized, but it could still be written now. Professor Quirt I wish to invite you to be co-author on such a paper to be written by yourself, Professor Sands, and myself. This would also be corroborating evidence towards a change in status for the descendants of the Denock."
Quirt replied "Professor Smith I accept. The research is at hand."
Chim John said "There is more, the resources at the University of La Paz are more suitable than what you have here. I have been authorized to offer you a position as a visiting Professor at the University of La Paz in my department."
Quirt "I accept, and thank you, I have learned about more than just parrots in my time here on Earth."
Earthclan accepted the offer of peace from the Gubru, contingent on the results of the investigations of their behavior. Things got complicated as there was evidence of Uplift irregularities by both the Gubru and Earthclan as well. Scandal was averted, but in the process enough information was gathered to evaluate the military aspects of the occupation of Garth. Two teams worked independently, one analyzed the Gubru occupation, the other the Earthclan Resistance on Garth.
Analysis of the Gubru attack and occupation of Earth leasehold Planet Garth
The investigation of the presence of the fallow Earth species "Gorillia" on Earth leasehold planet Garth has made considerable information available for this analysis that might otherwise not have come to light.
Purpose of the attack.
To put pressure of Earth and provide hostages for use in future negotiations with Earth.
This is in keeping with Galactic law and tradition.
The possibility of uplift irregularities or violations on Garth.
This justification was sound. The work done on the species "Gorilla" at the Howlets Center was illegal and a violation of humanity's leasehold on Earth. Though not discovered by the Gubru, the presence of the Gorillas was discovered by Thennanin Ambassador Kault using very basic equipment.
Methodology and application of the attack on Garth
The plan of attack was brilliant in design and quite successful in the early stages. The Gubru had a very limited budget for this campaign. The acceptance of battle with the honor continent on Garth was also correct. The Gubru were able to observe Earthclan fighting techniques and equipment under controlled conditions. The use of hostage gas removed the patrons of the Neo-Chimpanze population from direct contact and supervision of their clients. The possibility of humans being able to avoid exposure to the hostage gas did not seem to have been considered, or considered to be unimportant. The Gubru were also able to track much domestically manufactured equipment. This greatly reduced the early effectiveness of the Garth insurgency.
Performance and behavior of the Gubru military during the Garth campaign.
The Gubru military performed effectively and within the guidelines of Galactic law. The uprising in the Valley of the Sind was suppressed effectively, quickly, and ruthlessly. This is expected of a professional military organization. There were no reprisals against the civil population after the attack was suppressed. Individual Gubru soldiers were often brought to great frustration dealing with the populace, much based on a deliberate plan to behave as stupidly as possible in the presence of the occupying forces. There were no reports of misbehavior by the Gubru forces. Response to the insurrection in the mountains of Garth was hampered by lack of knowledge and experience with this type of conflict as practiced by Earthclan. No Galactic military organization had this experience at the time. Near the end of the period of occupation the military was given a clearly illegal order. The order was not obeyed and the leader responsible for the order was removed from command by summary execution.
Performance of the command structure of the Gubru forces.
The initial performance of the Gubru occupation command was outstanding. The early part of the occupation went smoothly. However the command structure was very fragile, with no redundancy whatever. The Surezain of Cost and Caution was killed in an accident. There was an undiscovered act of sabotage that led to the accident that killed the Surezian, but the end result was completely unintended. The act of sabotage was meant to be little more than a minor inconvenience to the Gubru. The Gubru investigation also judged it to be an accident, and also acknowledged it was in part due to the removal of the human supervisors of the Neo-Chimpanzees. The underlying sabotage was not discovered, but the evidence may have been obscured by the significant damage caused by the explosion.
The Gubru command structure never recovered from the death of this Surezain, and there appear to have been no plans to deal with such an occurrence. The delay in appointing a successor led to fragmenting of the invading forces. The military maintained some internal cohesion due to the efforts of a very talented officer corps, the other branches suffered more as the goal of consensus grew farther off.
The delay in appointing a successor for the Surezian of Cost and Caution also led to the two remaining Surezians indulging in poorer and poorer decisions that weakened the occupying forces. The disintegration of the Gubru command structure was instrumental in the failure of the occupation and the execution for cause of one of the remaining original Surezains. An expedition that had a real possibility of meeting and exceeding its goals and justification ended bankrupt and dishonored.
The failure of the Gubru occupying forces was the fault of the Gubru High Command. The occupation was treated as a low risk training exercise. The lack of planned redundancy in the occupation command structure and the compromises required by the insufficient budget became critical weaknesses as the occupation continued. If the occupation command structure had been more robust, the budget shortfall might have been overcome. However the disruption of the command structure due to a minor accident was fatal and no additional resources could have compensated for that destruction.
The true purpose of the occupation was to showcase and develop the abilities of the three hand picked Surezians, and determine a new policy for the Gubru.
This did occur, but for Ambassador Kault and clan Thennanin. Ambassador Kault showed resourcefulness, determination, and ingenuity. Kault's analysis and detection of the presence of fallow "Gorillia" stock was masterly, even though it was being impeded by deliberate misdirection at the time. Kault was also willing to risk his professional standing and reputation, he did so and brought benefit to clan Thennainn, a change in Theanninn policy, and much needed support for Earthclan.
Analysis of the Earthclan Resistance to the Gubru Invasion of Earthclan Leasehold Planet Garth
Information for this Analysis is drawn in part from the investigation of Gubru irregularities in the Uplift Ceremony on Garth during the Gubru occupation of Garth.
The Gubru claimed the actions in question were the results of individuals acting outside of the formal Gubru command structure. The Surezian of Propriety was the only survivor of the original triumvirate that was in command of the occupation of Garth. Two of the Neo-Chimpanze leaders of the Garth resistance were captured and put forward as race representatives by this Surezain. The Surezain gave testimony as to the original intent of the Uplift Ceremony they were part of. The Surezain requested these individuals be contacted as they would be able confirm many of the details of what occurred.
These individuals were contacted and appraised of the purpose of the inquiry. They provided detailed statements about much of their experiences, confirmed the Surezain's statement as to the purpose of the Uplift Ceremony, and provided information about the the behavior of the Gubru military. Surprisingly, there was a personal message for the Surezain as well, hoping their testimony would be of help, and wishing the Surezain well in the future.
The Gubru position that these were illegal acts of individuals was supported. The Gubru also made clear that when the Surezain of Beam and Talon gave an illegal order, the order was not followed and the Surezain was executed for cause. The Gubru were required to indemnify the population of Garth for the collateral damage caused to the citizens, but the justification for the occupation was sound due to the illegal Uplift activities at the Howletts Center. These in turn were also determined to be the unsupported actions of individuals.
While the methods used by the Earthclan Resistance are still unknown in many instances, the results of their actions were highly detrimental to the Gubru occupation. This is more surprising as it was determined at the end of the occupation that due to the Gubru use of hostage gas only two human patrons were in the mountains of Garth, accompanied by the daughter of the Tymbrimi Ambassador. Of the humans one was a young child, the other the adult son of the planetary leader. This individual had formal military training, the Ambassador's daughter is believed to have had no military training at all. A number of the Neo-Chimpanzes in the Resistance were members of the Garth Militia, the level of their actual military training is unknown.
The accomplishments of the Garth Resistance:
Quickly determined some locally manufactured equipment was being tracked by Gubru sensors, isolated the effected equipment thus rendering these Gubru sensors of no further consequence.
Re-established contact with the Garth planetary Government in hiding.
Through the results of a seemly minor act of sabotage permanently crippled the Gubru Command structure.
Became aware of the insufficient occupation budget and the weaknesses this imposed on the Gubru.
Deliberately allowed the Gubru to become aware Uplift activity had occurred in the mountains, but in such a way the site of this Uplift was permanently denied to the Gubru. The purpose of this was to draw the Gubru military into the mountains where the unconventional tactics of the Resistance put the Gubru at a considerable disadvantage.
Detected and successfully spoofed an improved Gubru detection method rendering it nearly valueless.
Developed a biological weapon that only effected specific components of Gubru military equipment. The carrying agent was the normal seasonal movement of large plant blossoms.
Each of these accomplishments will now be examined in detail.
The discovery of the tracking of Garth manufactured equipment could have been accomplished by observation. This was done in a very short time, canceling one of two of the Gubru's major advantages over the Resistance. The other advantage was the use of hostage gas. This was shown to be of considerably less significance than expected, and led to serious underestimation of the Resistance by the Gubru.
The reestablishment of contact between the Resistance and the Garth government was of unknown significance. It did however also reduce the significance of the effects of the hostage gas.
The sabotage of the Gubru bureaucratic headquarters has come in for considerable examination due to the crippling effect it had on the Gubru command structure. This was adjudged at the time to be the accidental result of Neo-Chimpaneze incompetence due to the removal of their human supervisors. That the single major evidence of Neo-Chimpaneze incompetence should have resulted in the permanent crippling of the Gubru command structure seems very unlikely considering the other accomplishments of the Resistance. Investigation has shown that certain mixtures of oxygen and flammable gasses are extremely explosive. The violence of this explosion killed not only the Surezain of Cost and Caution who was at a considerable distance from the building at the time, but also many of the members of his staff and other senior bureaucrats. This reduced whatever command redundancy this branch of the Gubru occupation government had effectively to zero.
Two theories were put forward:
The Resistance had a member as part of the gas company and the true purpose of the sabotage was to destroy as much of the Gubru command as possible.
That someone in the repair crew made a decision to destroy the building, including themselves and their comrades.
With no surviving evidence for either position, the evaluation panel favors the second theory. Numerous Neo-Chimpaneze exhibited bravery, ingenuity, and the willingness for self sacrifice for the benefit of the colony. The team members dispatched to the Chancellery would have been aware of the explosive nature of the gas and probably had equipment to determine when the mixture was most dangerous. They also would have been able to make any remaining evidence appear to have been caused by an accident as well.
The Resistance quickly exposed the shallowness of the Gubru defenses on Garth and used it to their advantage.
The Gubru military was equipped with weapons and other equipment the equal of any in the Galaxy. Due to the crippling budget imposed on the expedition the secondary equipment used for routine guard activities or other purposes considered low risk was much inferior. The Resistance identified these weaknesses and exploited them. From the descriptions provided it appears much of this was commercial equipment intended for the confinement and herding of domestic animals.
Exposing the Gubru to evidence of Uplift and extracting an oath that they never return to the site in question was extremely dangerous, but executed brilliantly. This showed considerable knowledge of Galactic law and protocol. It is believed the Tymbrimi Ambassador's daughter would have been able to supply the information necessary for the conditions of the pardon imposed on the Gubru survivors. The knowledge acquired by the Gubru was more injurious to the Gubru than to the Resistance as it drew the Gubru into the mountains where they were at a pronounced disadvantage to the tactics used by the Resistance.
Two other important points should be taken from this.
When conditions allowed, both sides took prisoners, this was uncommon due to the nature of the conflict.
With actual evidence of Uplift activities, the Gubru never discovered the presence of fallow Gorillas on Garth. This is attributed to the loss of cohesion of the Gubru command. The presence of Gorillas was discovered by a single individual of a different Galactic Clan with very basic equipment.
The Gubru developed a detector that identified a unique component present only in Earth derived life. In a very short time the Resistance identified the factor involved, developed a way to misdirect the Gubru sensors, and drew a major Gubru warship into a trap and destroyed it with a weapon the Gubru were unaware was present on Garth. The destruction of this Gubru warship also illustrated that the new Gubru detector was now worthless, as the earlier detector had also quickly been rendered worthless.
The Resistance developed a biological weapon that attacked specific elements of Gubru military equipment and delivered it as part of a normal seasonal distribution of plant blossoms.
This represented the most troubling and inexplicable element of the success of the Resistance. The bio-agent attacked Gubru armored fighting equipment, but had no effect on Gubru hand weapons that could then be used against the Gubru. It did not effect civilian Gubru equipment, or the equipment of the other Clans that came to Garth for the Uplift ceremony. The time between the delivery of the bio-agent and the Gubru discovery of the cause of their equipment failures meant that a large part of this equipment had to be scrapped, and much was in fact abandoned in place. A number of the Gubru military spacecraft present on Garth are believed to have been scrapped as well. The delivery of the bio-agent was part of the seasonal distribution of a large plant blossom, known to occur every year. The bio-agent was apparently developed during the occupation, otherwise it could have been seeded in areas the Gubru intended to occupy prior to their landing. This panel was unable to agree on any possible explanation for the presence of this bio-weapon. It remains a troubling mystery.
The Gubru were subjected to two crippling events, the destruction of the Surezain of Cost and Caution and much of his senior staff, and introduction of a bio-weapon that had a serious effect on the ability of Clan Gubru to effectively wage war in the conflict that has recently ended. The bio-weapon had such a damaging effect on Gubru war materiel that the Gubru are effectively bankrupt. The first of these events can not be determined to have an attack or an accident, the second was an attack that was not recognized as such until much of the Gubru military equipment on Garth was destroyed and the bio-weapon had been spread to other parts of the Gubru territories.
The Gubru needed to establish a purely defensive stance shortly after arriving on Garth. They did not realize the need for a defensive posture until their occupation on Garth was rendered untenable.
In the course of collating this information the point was raised that the Gubru's assumption that their use of hostage gas should have prevented any effective resistance was sound. The Earthclan client species Neo-Chimpaneze was 400 years old. Stress atavism, instability, and poor ability to plan or effectively operate independently should have been displayed once their human patrons were removed. In reality the one instance of supposed Neo-Chimpaneze incompetence may instead have been a deadly and courageous act that was untraceable.
The panel's conclusion is that while the Neo-Chimpaneze species is legally a client of the Human species, it is in fact a junior branch of humanity. Part of the Gubru indemnity to the population of Garth was due to the hostage gas effecting part of the Neo-Chimpaneze population. This may have been due to the Neo-Chimpanezes having human DNA grafted into their genome.
Humanity considers its adaptability and diversity to be major strengths of their species. It is considered a reasonable possibility Chimpanzee Uplift may been a deliberate effort to increase this adaptability and diversity. The effective resistance on Garth and the severe damage rendered to the invading Gubru would indicate that this was successful.