17 October 2317
The report by a team of scientists led by Dr. Joy McGillicuddy on a three-year expedition to the planet Yom has ignited fierce debate. Protestors on both sides have been gathering outside the headquarters of the International Council for Space Exploration (ICSE). The focus of the controversy is a highly unusual animal called triangulus dexteralis, commonly referred to as the “trup,” that lives only on Yom.
Trups are warm-blooded animals standing between 110 and 150 centimeters in height and measuring between 30 and 45 centimeters in diameter. They have three eyes, three arms, and three legs. On each of its three arms, the trup sports a three-fingered hand. One finger, set at right angles to the other two, serves as a thumb.
Trups live in small tribal units consisting of 15 to 30 individuals. When a unit grows larger than this, it usually divides into smaller groups that go their separate ways. Trups employ a basic language of approximately 500 verbal words and signs. The language contains no abstract concepts and very few adjectives or adverbs. Trups fashion simple tools, such as stone axes, clubs, and shovels. They build small, lean-to shelters to store food and protect themselves from the elements. Trups do not use fire, have no written language, and do not paint pictures, make designs, or create art of any kind.
The McGillicuddy report repudiates the opinion of captain Zenon Benon and his crew that trups would likely develop an advanced civilization and that therefore Yom is ineligible for settlement by Earth people in accordance with the non-interference policy of the Galactic Association. McGillicuddy’s team argues that — though trups possess a highly developed hand — they lack the mental capability to advance beyond their primitive, foraging culture. This conclusion would permit the settlement of Yom under current policy.
Protesters, including Captain Benon himself, argue that if an interstellar civilization had landed on Earth between 100,000 and 200,000 bcet, it might have reached similar conclusions about the various hominids who lived there. They could not have known that one of those hominids, homo sapien, would within 2,000 centuries develop interstellar space flight. Similarly, if left to their own development, trups might one day develop advanced civilizations that would enable them to participate in GAIL.
Partisans of trup rights say GAIL Earth has economic interests in encouraging human settlement on Yom. It is therefore inappropriate that a scientific team financed by GAIL should decide whether settling Yom is consistent with the non-interference policy.
A possible compromise to the stalemate might be to solicit opinions and scientific analysis from the other species in the Galactic Association. Yom’s climate and biology are better suited to settlement by humans than by other GAIL members. Other species would have little economic incentive to favor human interests over the rights of trups.
Yom is the second planet orbiting the star Pi 1 Ursae Majoris. It was discovered in 2310 cetc by the crew of the starship Boreal. Follow this link for additional information about Yom.