An excerpt from a letter, sent Sarteck year 20,950 from Dr. Ayleen to Professor Kikrikri:
I told you before how peculiar this species of primate is. They have more than one hundred nations, each with their own currency. Many have their own language. They even have languages that nobody speaks. I have studied them for almost fifty of their years, or eighty-five Sarteck years, but I still cannot find the source of the global cacophony. The plurality religion on this planet, very similar to Savior Worship, has a legend of a tower that reached the heavens. The builders wanted to be like their deity, but the deity punished them for their arrogance by giving them many different languages. This legend is either based in or an explanation of reality, for their disputes are many and diverse. Conflicts are often based on arbitrary traits such as ancestry, skin color, and language, and nothing major, such as a heavenly tower, could be accomplished by such a belligerent population.
The system is denoted as YM1-8-13 because it has one yellow medium star and eight planets. It is the thirteenth system like this that we discovered. Only two planets are capable of hosting life. Of the two, only one planet actually sustains organisms. There is only one potentially sentient species on the planet, but their scientists believe there were others at one point in time. Many individuals do prefer intellectual pleasures, but a vast majority of this species still prefers chemical pleasures. I am surprised that the species advanced so far. Despite the constant international bickering, they have attained a nuclear age. Sentience is nowhere in sight, but phasing may be less than two hundred of their years away. I believe they may become a galactic terror.
You know all this, but I feel the need to refresh your memory in preparation for real news. You know why I study this planet. These primates are on the verge of sentience. The Galactic Community of Sentience only observed the emergence of sentience a number of times, with outstanding studies in psychology as a result. The goal of my mission is to observe the growing of sentience in this species. But I believe the goal will not meet with success. A new war broke out, and one of the smaller nations used a biological weapon against the dominant military force. I cannot explain this weapon, which is why I request a research vessel. The biological weapon is not a virus, or bacteria, but it infects animals, kills plants, and grows mercilessly. The weapon, evidently, cannot be controlled. It turned back on its creators, and infects anything it contacts. One of my researchers was infected, and her condition worsens, despite all our medical equipment. The medical staff quarantined her. I ended all field research to this planet to avoid further infection.
The biological weapon infected several areas, including its home nation and parts of its intended target. I believe that the weapon will consume all organic life, and then die off, but I cannot be sure. One of my colleagues suggested that the green patches it left behind could be the weapon's tool for photosynthesis. I think, and hope, that this green is just leftover vegetation that grew immunity to the infection, but I could be wrong. If this thing can harvest light energy, it likely will live on after all normal organisms die off.
The GCS has a policy against intervening with non-sentient species, but I wonder if we must make an exception. I don't know if total eradication of life on this planet would be wise, but we should at least destroy the infected areas. I will await your advice and your research vessels.
Another excerpt from another letter, sent Sarteck year 20,958, same sender, same recipient:
Although the research vessels helped, the situation worsens. The infected researcher's condition became critical, despite all efforts. She hasn't been eating, but she has been vomiting, and, until recently, she had loose stools. Swelling in the lower abdomen, however, ended loose stools. Her skin lost its color and her pulse is gone. Somehow, likely because of the strangely regular muscle spasms, her circulatory system has not failed. She lost conscience, but still lives.
On the planet, every continent now has an outbreak. Half a Sarteck month after I wrote last, the primates launched atomic weapons at the infected areas, which launched rocks into space. But new infections arose since then. Wisely, the primates ended their nuclear assault, for the fallout from that much nuclear energy would kill them all. But the infection still spreads, even into radioactive areas. They fight back with conventional methods and sanitation, but they only breed resistance in the weapon. By our estimates, the entire planet will fall within five of their years. There is a costal infection that spread to an ocean, and multiplies at an incredible rate. The infection consists of single celled organisms and will reach the adjacent coast within a Sarteck month.
I just wrote that the infection consists of single celled organisms, but how could bacteria do so much? They can't. The infection consists of all kinds of organisms, from animals to plants (remember what my colleague said? He was right) to bacteria and, perhaps, to viruses. I have no idea whatsoever of how this could be, and the research vessels confirmed that there is only one weapon that can take on multiple forms, but I cannot say by what mechanism the infection can do this.
The situation is bad. I again request that we destroy the planet. The infection already reached a biomass of at least fifty million metric tons. I believe that the infection will consume the entire planet and stay, waiting for a foolish vessel to bring it food, photosynthesizing in wait. Three more crew members have been infected. I fear our ships may be contaminated, and I fear to bring them home. If not granted permission to destroy the inhabitants of the planet, I will wait until all infections on the ships cease, and then I will come home.
A third excerpt from a third letter, sent Sarteck year 20,965 same sender, same recipient:
My prediction was correct. The planet is mostly infected, with a remnant using projectile weapons to fight back. The survivors wear airproof clothing, as the entire atmosphere is infectious. There is no hope for the planet. No race, however violent, deserves this. On the bright side, every creature on the planet is now united in the common goal of staying alive.
On board the ships, the situation worsens. The first person to be infected woke up, broke out of quarantine, and started attacking people. We had to kill her, which was surprisingly difficult. In the process, she injured fifteen crew members, four of which were infected by her blood. They are now in a more secure quarantine.
We did an autopsy on her, and nothing was the same. As a Yax from the Yog system, she was once a mammal quadruped with fine motor skills in her tail and tongue. Her corpse, however, has no tongue or tail, and she lacks several important organs, including a heart. I have no idea how she did what she did.
A patient on another ship, a primate, had a totally different reaction. He grew a green mold all over his skin and started persuading people to let him out of quarantine. I hate to think it, but I believe he is now so overcome by the infection that it has influenced him to spread it. Yet another patient, a six legged aquatic invertebrate, went insane just before growing extra limbs, eyes, and kidneys. He even grew an extra brain. He is extremely violent and constantly slaps the sides of the containment tank. Five other patients have the same thing the first one did – loss of conscience, organs, weight, and skin color.
I now request to destroy the planet and euthanize my coworkers. I don't care if it violates any policy, and soon enough I may be forced to take matters in my own hands. With this letter, I am sending several "before and after" photos of the infected to help make my case. Please contact the military and advocate for me. I can destroy the planet if I want to, but without help, I may do a sloppy job. The biomass of the infection now exceeds one billion metric tons, and if I must be the one who destroys the planet, this biomass might fly into space.