Author : Bob Newbell, Featured Writer

It was the year 3.98 billion, but no one regarded it as such. Sentient beings across the Milky Way knew the date by the Galactic Pulsar Network Clock. The day was an historic one. A delegation of 88 sentients representing the most advanced civilizations of the Galactic Commonwealth were meeting with their counterparts from the Andromeda Galaxy to discuss a common problem: The two galaxies were colliding and in the eons to follow would merge into a single galaxy.

“As the larger and culturally superior civilization, we are willing to admit the peoples of the Milky Way as subjects of the Andromedan Empire,” said a small, purple, sea urchin-like creature through the translator.

The space station's computer recognized a Milky Way representative who wished to respond, a light blue frog-like being from one of the core worlds. “Ambassador, the collision of our two galaxies will have almost no impact on any given solar system other than to reposition them. Such is the vastness of interstellar space and the comparative smallness of stars and planets in both galaxies. There is no reason both great civilizations cannot coexist in peace in the new, merged galaxy with as much or as little interaction as is mutually agreed upon.”

The spiny, globular Andromedans conferred briefly and then responded. “We do not understand what you mean by 'coexist'. There is a hierarchy in the universe. For example, our galaxy produced a few carbon-based sentients like yourselves. But in the course of time the superior boron-based life forms like us superseded them. Offering you admittance as subordinates rather than the accredited practice of genocide is quite magnanimous.”

The frog-man's dorsal spines rose in outrage. Before he could respond, a tall, thin, exoskeletoned being from the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way was recognized. It clicked the 88 digits distributed on its four hands in rapid succession. The translation came out as “We do not seek conflict, but we are in no way willing to sacrifice our independence. The wars fought for freedom in the Milky Way's history number in the hundreds of thousands.”

“That is the typical carbon-based response,” said the Andromedan. “First, an appeal to goodwill and then a threat of violence. So be it. Annihilation instead of assimilation.”

“I agree with you completely, Ambassador,” said another Milky Way representative after it was recognized.

Gasps (or their equivalents) spread across the Milky Way delegation. The representative was a robot, bipedal and tall.

“We are not all created equal. Some must rule, some must serve. Machinekind, for example, will eventually dominate the Milky Way. We can be produced faster, learn quicker, operate in extreme environments. We are superior to carbon-based life. And, it goes without saying, to boron-based life as well. Yes, we will do well in the new combined galaxy after the organics and boronics are dealt with.”

The alarmed Andromedans called for a recess as the Milky Way delegation descended into chaos. Back in their embassy on the space station, the Milky Way representatives conversed.

“Think they bought it?” asked the frog-man.

“I believe so,” the robot replied. “I wouldn't be surprised if they now discretely proposed a boron-carbon alliance to check the coming machine menace. When we reconvene, I'll claim my words were taken out of context and that I was just musing on one possible distant future. I suggest several of my organic colleagues act as if you don't believe me.”

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” said the frog-man with a smile to his robotic comrade.

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