(Patreon) Bachelor Chapter 85

Index

LXXXV

Richard pondered what he’d heard of the Demoniacs. “Okay, so they had technology that could communicate with us, but they might not have known how it worked.”

“People don’t put technology on ships unless they know what it does,” Richard’s father shook his head, “More than that, it was similar enough we found traces of it being used to communicate between them, and we saw that it responded to our signals. The signs were clear enough. We managed to intercept some of their communications, and it was clear that they had a language. They just didn’t want to talk to… us.” He shrugged, “There wasn’t much we could do about that. So, we pooled resources and worked together to take back the territory they had gained control of in the early days of the war. At that point, we didn’t advance into their territory, but they didn’t stop trying to expand and attacking the united races. We couldn’t just let them attack us. We figured they still didn’t take us seriously, so we took over one of their planets. That was when we first learned something important about them. On their planet, we didn’t gain much in the way of cultural insights… except one. When it was clear we were going to successfully gain control of it… the planet imploded. Just like their ships and their people, they destroyed their planets so that nobody else could have it.”

“That’s insane.”

“Probably. It certainly seems like it to us.” Mr. Smith shrugged. “Maybe to them, having someone take something of theirs was the worst possible outcome. Maybe they were confused as to why we didn’t destroy our own ships and kill our own people… and destroy our own planets, rather than let them be captured. Nobody got the chance to ask them. Still, there were other planets. We thought it might have been an isolated incident, with something critical on that planet… but it happened the same way, on all of their established planets. It took years to prepare for each assault, and the whole time we were fighting them elsewhere. Still, drawing from the resources of a large portion of the galaxy, we could keep it up. We had the advantage in numbers and resources, and it was only growing… or rather, theirs were shrinking. We sent strike teams to try to disable the giant implosion bombs… but they couldn’t reach them undetected. Any time it was possible they might succeed, they set off the bombs, taking the planet down with the team. Eventually, we stopped trying that. It took much less effort to make them destroy their own planets than it would to try to conquer them, so we did that. Each strike team was basically a suicide squad… but the losses would be hundreds, instead of thousands, hundreds of thousands… or millions. At least… on our side. Though some of their planets were sparsely populated, that still amounted to at least hundreds of millions… and many of the planets had billions of inhabitants, by our estimates.”

“You’d think they would have given up. Even if they didn’t want to communicate, they could have stopped attacking. Surely they realized that.”

“Maybe. We don’t really know what they thought. Still, because of how we thought, we did give them that chance. At several junctures, we stopped advancing into their territory. That was the best we could do to communicate we didn’t wish to exterminate them. Still, they continued the war, even after a decade of purely defense from our side. Maybe they thought they could win, that it was a sign of weakness on our part. Maybe they didn’t think anything at all, though that seems unlikely. They didn’t even take the time to build up a larger fleet, but kept sending ships to attack, though less and less of them.” Mr. Smith shook his head sadly. “Nobody wanted to continue taking losses, and keeping fleets mobilized was expensive. We pressed on, one planet at a time. Finally, at their last planet, we hesitated. Certainly, an untold number of lives had already been extinguished, but in a few more, they would be gone forever. That was a big step, and not one we were willing to take. So, we watched. They only had the resources of a single planet. Surely, they would stop. Instead, as we watched they tore apart their structures for resources to build more ships to attack. When they ran low, they destroyed that final planet too.”

“Wow. Um. Hmm.” Richard wasn’t sure what to think. “I’m not sure if I believe that could happen.”

His father shrugged. “I’m not completely sure I believe it, but I know all the information… from reliable sources. Perhaps that’s why all the information is classified, because the truth might seem like a coverup excuse.”

Richard now had plenty to think about, and more than just for some philosophy homework. It had likely been obvious that they would destroy their last planet when pressured to that point. Should the Demoniacs have been allowed to keep a few planets, with the rest of the races suffering constant attacks… or was wiping them out the right option? Of course, taking into consideration that they killed themselves was relevant, but it was a known consequence. It might have resolved part of the responsibility, but Richard didn’t know if it accounted for all of it or not. In the short term, more lives were lost, but in the long term that couldn’t necessarily be said. Of course, the death of an entire species couldn’t be recovered from… “They killed themselves, right? But… there were still bodies on some of the ships?”

“That’s right. From them, we learned about their anatomy, but that was all.”

“Were there samples of their DNA? Or… whatever they had like DNA, assuming they had it.”

Mr. Smith smiled. “They did. Presumably it’s kept secure and preserved… somewhere.”

Richard nodded to himself. Maybe they could be cloned. Maybe it had already been tried. That wasn’t the kind of thing people would talk about openly. People probably wouldn’t appreciate the cloning of a species that just wanted war… but then again, maybe there was more to them. Surely, someone must have tried to find out.

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