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First Contact

By Charles E Gannon


BEFORE:

In the first episode, the characters signed on to lead Operation Back Door. The objectives sounded simple; explore the unknown systems leading to the brown dwarf known as Back Door, take a quick peek into what may be Kafer space, keep an eye out for a `mystery race' that might be enslaved by the Kafers, and return. After accepting the mission, the characters got acquainted with their ship and crew and left to blaze a trail through unknown space. Now they are journeying toward the last stop on their agenda; system SS-27 6854. Uppermost on everyone's mind is that this might be Kafer territory


ACROSS THE THRESHOLD:

Where: system SS-27 6854 (-8.8, -47.7, -11.7)

What: arrival and spaceside discoveries in the Ylii  homesystem

Upon entering the SS-27 6854 system, the players will immediately be aware that the system is inhabited. Radio signals --unintelligible binary coding-- can be found jumping up and down the dial, never staying in one place long enough to be jammed. Similarly, radiation emissions from active sensors --and deep system scanners-- seems to be emanating from the general vicinity of the third and fifth planets in the system.

The signals begin to taper off as the Cat's Feet moves deeper into the system. However, since the signals are only traveling at the speed of light, a little basic math will reveal that the ship must have been detected just after it crossed the heliopause, causing the locals to cease their transmissions.

It is of course possible that the crew of the Cat's Feet will instead become the crew of the Cold Feet and decide to turn tail and run. However, two of the NPC crewmembers are fairly sure that these signals are NOT indicative of a Kafer presence insystem. Hannah, who served as a part-time commo officer in the Kafer Conflict, and Dumaine, who has as good a knowledge of Kafer communication styles and methods as just about anyone, both conclude that these signals are not of Kafer origin. Everything is wrong, from the bandwidths being used to the sophistication of the channel-switching. These signals, asserts Dumaine with a highly-excited gleam in his eyes, are being made by someone else; some intelligence that humanity has not yet encountered.

Since this will (SHOULD!) get the players eager to see what this system holds, they will begin to head insystem. The data --and scenes-- they will encounter are included below. Note that the great majority of the HISTORY of the garden planet cannot be attained in this scene, but must wait until actual contact with the inhabitants of the world (the Ylii).

  

SS 27 6854

Stellar Type: K6 V Absolute Magnitude: 8.3 Radius: .556 Mass: .552 Luminosity: .062 Temp. in Degrees K: 3980 Number of Orbits: 6 

Planetary Data

®TS20,45,60¯

Orbit World & Core Type Diameter Density

1, .121 Hothouse, Rocky 5,934 .8

2, .162 Hothouse, Rocky 15,870 .8

3, .256 Cool Garden, Rocky 17,123 .7

4, .358 Empty

5, .502 Failed Core, Rocky 9,989 .9

6, .754 Failed Core, Icy 17,120 .3

 

SYSTEM OVERVIEW

The Y'Lii home system is most notable for the fact that its `garden' world actually lies .006 AU beyond the parent star's life zone. The temperate environment on this planet is largely maintained by its very dense atmosphere and high greenhouse effect. Orbit four is not completely devoid of matter; a small attenuated cloud of debris is present. Long term analysis may in fact reveal that there was once a small world here (1120 km in diameter) that was apparently blasted apart over 100 millenia ago. This small world was a casualty of the Y'Lii War, a fact which the Y'Lii themselves lost track of, but have since rediscovered via their own research.

 

PLANETARY OVERVIEW

The Y'Lii homeworld, known to the Y'Lii as Ssuushni'a (which translates roughly as `Mother-Island') is a large, misty world with extensive polar caps and deep oceans. Lying just beyond its smallish sun's life zone, it rotates through a very slow day/night cycle of just under 30 hours. The presence of three satellites creates significant tidal cross-currents, making the seas choppy, fickle, and pock-marked with storm-generation centers. However, these same features tend to undercut the formation of tidal waves.

The land which is not ice-bound is lush with undergrowth, owing to the high average humidity of the atmosphere. In the slighly lower gravity, vegetation tends to grow taller and favors tapering forms. Given the enhanced power of Ssuushni'a's windstorms (and their frequency), these growths also tend to grow as `networks' that emulate a superstructure grid, or to display an almost elastic flexibility and resilience. Hence, the `trees' of Ssuushni'a may be either area OR point producers.

The fauna of the world includes a great number of aviforms, some massing over 120 kg. Impossible on most other worlds, Ssuushni'a's low gravity and atmospheric density make these glider/fliers possible. Another common feature in its fauna are either very large eyes, or extensive echolocation/sonar development. Both of these sensory adaptations allow creatures to operate effectively in the murky, low-frequency light environment of Ssushni'a.

An orbiting observer would be hard-pressed to gather much visual data on Ylii civilization unless they were able to remain on station for many weeks. Ssushni'a's mean cloud cover approaches 90 %. However, these are not `clouds' in the proper terrestrial sense of the word, but are more akin to diffuse mist. Indeed, if the cloud cover was of a thicker variety, the planet's albedo (light reflective) properties would increase and probably tip it into a permanent glacial age. As a result of its peculiar atmospheric conditions, Ssushni'a has a mysterious, murky appearance; a fuzzy smudge of greens, blues, and polar white.

However, a patient observer would eventually be rewarded with spottings of buildings in deserts and wastelands. Almost all of these would seem to be either spaceports, industrial complexes, and/or massive microwave rectennas. There will be little sign of habitation in these areas, since the Y'Lii place such `environmentally troublesome' installations in comparatively inhospitable (and more resilient) biomes.

The two innermost natural satellites have been almost completely converted into huge solar energy reception and processing sites, which then beam the collected power down the the rectennas in the wastelands.

In addition to its three natural satellites, Ssuushni'a is ringed by a dense swarm of artificial ones, ranging from 1 meter diameter peewees to several gargantuas measuring almost 100 meters across. However, whereas humanity's spacecraft take on a bewildering array of shapes, the Y'Lii unfailingly construct theirs in the form of a perfect sphere. This gives Ssuushni'a the appearance of being ringed by drifting clouds of silver bubbles.

HISTORY

See the accompanying article entitled, `The Y'Lii' for a complete history of the planet and its people.

 

As the team heads deeper insystem, they will note a few spherical craft orbiting the outermost planet, a few more around the next --but as they approach what appears to be a garden-world just OUTSIDE the lifezone, they will detect HUNDREDS of such craft in a bewildering variety of orbits. Some seem to be traveling in clusters, others off on eccentric trajectories of their own.

A study of the planet's two innermost natural satellites will reveal HUGE solar energy collection complexes, plus beamdown facilities aimed at either the garden world OR orbital relays with relay/beamdown capabilities of their own. Any attempt to land on these two moons will be foiled by a blockade of more than a dozen of the smallish, silvery spheres --traveling at a respectable rate. However, no communication will be initiated, nor responded to.

If, despite the daunting silence, the characters decide to move into orbit around the planet, about 50 of the spheres --ranging from 1 to 14 meters in diamter-- will gather around Cat's Feet and match vector. Surrounded by a cloud of drifting, silver bubbles, high above a mist-enshrouded green world, even hard-nosed Hannah Spitzmacher will spend a moment contemplating the silent and eerie beauty of the tableau.

It will be Franchot Dumaine who finally shatters the moment; "Mon dieu! What are we waiting for? Let's LAND!"


 A WALK IN THE FOREST

Where: on Ssuushni'a

What: exploring the Ylii homeworld

NOTE: BEFORE READING FURTHER, THE REFEREE SHOULD READ THE ARTICLE `THE YLII' IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND THE YLII, THEIR BEHAVIOR, AND MOTIVATIONS.

In addition to the scientific and cultural wonders that await, it is also true that the planet below is by far the easiest refueling site in the system. And, judging from the spheres, there's probably some refined fuel available --that is, if the locals feel like sharing it.

Furthermore, this may be the `mystery race,' a point which both Dumaine and Morgan will point out if the characters are thinking that this would be a good place to turn back. If he has to, Morgan will break his cover to get the team to land (by giving the order himself), but this is a LAST resort.

As the courier begins to change course for a descent, the spheres will part in what almost looks like a gesture of invitation. One by one, they peel away from the path of the Cat's Feet and resume their previous orbits.

The team will be struck by the pervasive forests, which show signs of scattered, irregularly-arranged construction --very reminiscient of the ruins the characters saw on Erie in the first episode (hint, hint!). If the team manages to spot --and head for-- one of the industrial complexes in the desert or wastelands, they will find it deserted (the inhabitants having fled underground pending the results of the first contact with the unknown visitors). The characters will eventually HAVE to land near a forest and enter it; that is the only way that th Ylii will ever contact them.

When approaching their selected landing spot, they will note two brief gleams of white light from deep in the forest. If they fly over to investigate, there will be nothing to be seen. There will also be no place to land; the nearest possible spot for the Cat's Feet is the landing site they had already decided upon. The first characters out of the ship will see the white light again, beaming up straight into the sky. Anyone with Recon skill will be able to tell at a glance that it's coming from precisely the same spot as before.

It will be an eight hour march to reach the source of the light. During this time, the players will have 3 encounters with local fauna. A bestiary for the Ylii planet is not provided here; space does not permit its inclusion. However, the last of these encounters should occur only 30 minutes or so before the group expects to reach the source of the light. The creature should be a 100 kg flier/glider Hunter that swoops down on the party while they're crossing a small glade. This final encounter will, in fact, involve a short fight, the attacking creature attempting to flee as soon as it takes any damage.

The other encounters should be determined randomly. Referees should consider the forest to be `teeming' with life for purposes of determining the econiche of any creature confronted.

Consult the planetary description to determine some general traits of this world's flora and fauna. Some other interesting features that Dumaine or any interested observant players may note are:

1) Even the `leaves' of the pinnacle-like trees are long and thin in shape, appearing more like streamers. The branches tend to be whiplike, resembling willow-wands or thick vines. The root structures seem to be interlaced and exceptionally sturdy. All these features suggest the ability to resist high winds with minimum structural damage; a logical evolutionary trait on a large planet with a heavy atmosphere.

2) Animals tend to be somewhat `spindly' in appearance. Even without dissection, observations of their movements suggest that many have cartiliginous, rather than bony skeletons. As noted earlier, eyes, ears, and even noses tend to be quite large --almost comically so by human standards. Marsupials seem to be quite prevalent, given the number of arboreal species in evidence. Ground carnivores tend to be fast and lethal, although the even the biggest is smaller than a black bear. Reptiles are not uncommon, although they show less adaptations for nocturnal activity; they are apparently almost uniformly diurnal.

3) The variety of reproductory systems is one of the most unusual features of both the flora and fauna. There are several trisexual species (how that works is not exactly clear to the characters, who might merely assume that they are looking at unusual social structures), as well as egg-laying mammals. Plants seem to attract their necessary symbiots not only with scent and color, but light. The orange-gold glow that Ssuushni'a gets from its sun has very little green in it, and minimal amounts of any of the higher wavelenghts of light. Consequently, nature's pastel is more limited. A large number of plants compensate for this limitation to their potential `attractor stimuli' by producing their own light. Green and blue bioluminescence is a pervasive botanical `sex' characteristic and attractor in the Ssuushni'an forest, lending it an almost `christmas tree' appearance in the areas where this kind of flora predominates.

There is one other factor that the characters may or may not note as they travel through the forest; they are being followed.

TASK: To detect unseen observer; Formidable, Recon, +2 for either Exceptional Hearing or Sight, Immediate

Only one attempt may be permitted per hour. If detected, the `unseen observer' will be glimpsed briefly; only enough to discern that it is humanoid, a little smaller than a human, and fur-covered. There will also be an impression of HUGE eyes. This is the Ylii known as Vishzuss'zruhna'zhii (roughly: Self-knowing-speaker-of-basic-truths-who-is-an-Alpha-Alpha), who has been assigned the task of watching the group as they make their way through the forest.

Vish's (we'll use a nickname, whereas the Ylii NEVER would) duty is to see how this new race of sophonts treats the environment. A respect for flora and fauna, a sense that one does not `own' nature but cooperates with it as an equal, is the key not only to the Ylii outlook on life, but their assessment of the level of a species' intelligence. If the characters smash around in the undergrowth, ripping up samples, casually disecting creatures, etc., Vish --and the rest of the Ylii-- will be appalled. If, on the other hand, the characters evince respectful interest in the environment without mangling or mistreating it, the Ylii will be readily coming to the conclusion that prolonged contact with these odd, small-eyed aliens might be a good idea and a `natural action.'

The key test will be how the characters respond to the conflict with the avian hunter at the end of their journey. Once wounded, the creature will attempt to flee as fast and as far as it can. If the group lets it do so unmolested, or fires shots that are only meant to scare it, this will crystallize the Ylii attitude toward the humans as positive. If, on the other hand, the group decides to blast the hunter to tiny pieces even when it is retreating in a panic, Ylii attitudes will be decidedly negative. If character responses are split between these two extremes, the Ylii will be undecided, biased in the direction of the greater number of responses. For example, if all but one characgers decides that the fleeing Hunter offers a great opportunity for target practice, the Ylii will be VERY skeptical --and will prefer to talk to the person who did NOT do the shooting.

There is one last crucial point having to do with the attack of this creature. Depending on initial range and whatever other weapon may be available for him, Morgan is likely to use his S&W ISP 106 handgun to dispatch/drive off the aerial hunter. If he does this, the characters are likely to notice that the `shoot and whisper' is no ordinary handgun; it is a very sophisticated, special-purpose weapon. If the players do not begin to voice suspicions about WHY a helmsman should have such a weapon, Dumaine will relentlessly pursue this line of inquiry. Clearly, it is to Dumaine's eventual advantage if he can make the rest of the group distrustful of Morgan (and by association, the AIA).

Morgan is too smart to try to lie once he is found out. He will explain completely and calmly why he is working undercover on the mission and what his duties are. He will NOT try to take command of the team; that is NOT part of his mission except as a very last resort. Dumaine will inflexibly insist that Morgan is not to be trusted, however, and that the whole group has been made the dupes (or guinea pigs) of the AIA.


 SPEAKER FOR THE PEOPLE:

Where: on Ssuushni'a

What: first personal contact with a Ylii

In the aftermath of the attack by the avian hunter --immediately afterward if there is a severely injured teammember-- the characters are likely to note a stirring in the undergrowth, followed by a long breathy whistle that begins at a shrill pitch and slowly descends to a bass tone. The duration of the sound lasts over 20 seconds. A few moments after it ends, a humanoid figure will arise out of the underbrush. This (of course) is Vish.

From here on, the flow of play will largely be determined by character actions. Consequently, the descriptions of the interactions with the Ylii are more general in nature, with the emphasis on Ylii objectives and attitudes. This allows a referee to determine the course of action the Ylii would adopt in any given situation.

Vish will approach the group cautiously, although if there is a wounded party member, he will move more rapidly and decisively. In the event that any of the characters present are a bit spooked by this, Dumaine assures them --based on his abilities in these matters-- that Vish is not threatening them. Instead, Vish will attempt to assist in whatever first aid is being administered to the injured, proving to be quite competent in this regard. The characters will notice that Vish is wearing a light harness, to which various tools are attached. In addition, he is wearing some sort of mechanical/ornamental armguard.

After the initial contact, in which both sides will (presumably) try to make it clear to each other that they mean no harm and want to talk, they will have to go about determining exactly how to converse. If any of the characters has brought along a portacomp with ANY kind of language program at all, and they attempt to use it, Vish will become unusually animated and begin `typing' with one hand upon his arm ornament (apparently a portacomp also). However, his unit seems extraordinarily powerful for its size (in comparison to human technology). After a little vocabulary is exchanged in the classic manner --pointing to an object, naming it, and then hearing what the other person calls it-- a crude level of communication can be established with the aid of some kind of phonetic emulator in Vish's unit (which converts his hums, whistles, and sibilances into their human language equivalents). (Note: if anyone has taken along a KAFER language program and tries to communicate with THAT, immediate understanding will be established: the Ylii have been dealing with the Kafers for over 300 years. In turn, with access to a common language, the two races will be able to decode each other's language with extraordinary speed.)

Vish will explain in broken English (the referee should try to emulate this) that there is a place nearby where what he calls the `you-name and me-name' process can be vastly accelerated. He would be grateful if the group would accompany him there. A twenty minute walk brings the group to the base of a large tree with a suspiciously ladder-like vine running up its side. Although later arboreal acrobatics will prove that he certainly does not require a ladder, Vish (as any good host) will provide the example for his uncertain guests and begin climbing up.

Once in the mid-level of the foliage, the players will begin to learn the reasons why Ylii society is difficult to see from orbit. Almost all their dwellings are shaped and colored much like the botantical structures around them. A few aliens similar to Vish (other Alphas) are waiting when they arrive. These creatures also emit a long whistle of greeting and study the humans patiently while Vish accesses a much larger computer. If the players have a portacomp and language program, Vish will ask for permission to interface it directly with his system. In order to make sure that this goes smoothly, he will invite computer experts amongst the players to help him monitor things. The referee should design a few tasks for computer-skilled players to handle at this point. However, the outcome should be inevitably successful (since it would be hard to go much further without the ability to communicate!).

It turns out that Vish was assigned to watch and contact the `ut'soYlii' (his word for humans, which translates as; small-eyed thinkers). If the group seemed violent or uncaring of the environment, Vish will want to learn more about that right away. This is as much to find out WHY an intelligent species would behave that way, as it is a way of determining how much further the contact should be pursued.

Regardless of how well (or poorly) the humans present themselves in Vish's eyes, two things will immediately be clear to him; this species can be communicated with peacefully and they seem to prefer cooperation over violence. This marks them as profoundly different from the Kafers, with whom the Ylii have been unable to establish even the smallest degree of conceptual common-ground. And consequently, --in accordance with the plans and instructions promulgated by the deltas who are constantly monitoring this first encounter-- the humans are to be considered as potential allies.

If the humans were a bit excessive in their use of violence, or used weapons as large and destructive as assault rifles, lasers, etc, Vish will immediately express curiousity as to why the humans would fashion and carry such things. But Vish's phrasing of this question will be skewed towards a species-and-econiche perspective; he will ask the group what prompted such a development and how it is an extension of their place in the natural order they evolved from.

If the players are not equally bursting with questions, Dumaine will be, and seems to be handling the situation with admirable calm, considering that he is living the ultimate dream of every xenosapientologist. In actuality, Dumaine is already calculating how he can get one of the Ylii to accompany him back to earth. One of Dumaine's first questions will be whether or not the Ylii have had contact with the Kafers, and if so, what the `context' of that interaction has been.

Clearly, the group is free to be as candid or covert as they wish. The Ylii however, are open-handed and honest and Vish will rattle off a brief synopsis of Ylii-Kafer history. His comments will end with some hint of the moral/ethical/ecological dilemma this situation has thrust upon the Ylii. He will also ask what experience the humans have had with the Kafers, since they obviously knew enough about the species to inquire about its impact upon the Ylii.

Soon after these issues have been discussed, a high-toned chirp will emanate from Vish's decorative wrist-computer; the delta's have decided to invite the humans to the Ylii capitol of Hnnsiithu, where they are to be made welcome while talks of greater length are held.

SUGGESTIONS TO THE REFEREE:

The drama --and enyoyment-- in this scene should stem from the (often comical) frustrations that arise when two cultures are trying to establish meaningful contact with each other. However, the players should also be reminded (by the NPC's, if necessary) that this one alien contact has the potential to be the deciding factor in the future of human conflict with the Kafers. So although there may be many amusing moments as each side misunderstands the other or expresses itself in a humorously awkward fashion, it is still deadly serious business; descending to slapstick is not a good idea here.

Before taking on the critical role of Vish, the referee should study the article on THE YLII carefully, particularly those sections relating to culture, language, history, and human interaction. The Ylii are a truly ALIEN race, whose different outlook is just as organic as is a Kafer's. This quality should come across very clearly in the referee's portrayal of Vish (and any other Ylii).

A special note; Vish is not really an Alpha Alpha; he is a Defender. Like all other Defenders, he is not aware of this --or that there is even an ongoing re-evolution of this `lost species.' The same qualities that suited him for his role as a Speaker for his people --courage, intense curiousity, decisiveness-- will create in him an affinity for the humans. However, he will seem slightly uncomfortable around Morgan, and even moreso around Dumaine as time goes on. This is actually the uncanny Ylii communal sense kicking in and tweaking to the fact that these two individuals are not what they seem to be, given the purported social structure of the human group. He is only mildly uncomfortable around Morgan because the AIA agent is not out to hurt anyone; his duty is to protect and, somehow, Vish can intuit that. But Dumaine has murderous-- even genocidal-- motives that Vish vaguely `senses' but his unfamiliarity with such ideas makes him unsure of what he's sensing. Non-defender Ylii are less likely to pick up on this, since human social structure will be less accessible to them.


 THE YLII DILEMMA:

Where: Hnnsiithu, Ylii capitol

What: Ylii reaction to human culture and Operation Back Door

Vish will guide the characters a short distance away from the tree complex they were in, skimming easily along branches that the characters must cross with great care and no small amount of wobbling. The end of their brief journey puts them at an entrance to a tapering building. Once inside, they take a lift downward. This deposits them in an underground mag-lev station of simple but advanced design. After a 2 hour maglev ride, the characters are invited to debark, and along with Vish, emerge into the Ylii city of Hnnsiithu.

The Ylii capitol strongly resembles a forest itself. Without exception, the buildings are tree-like spires, joined by narrow walkways, and sturdy guidewires. The Ylii can be seen using the wires to travel between the buildings with the arboreal ease of gibbons, swinging from one to the next. Built right next to a forest, it is difficult to tell where the city ends and the buildings begin.

This is the first glimpse that the players will have of some of the 33 species of Ylii that comprise this society. The almost bizarre diversity of this is in odd contrast to the easy order and tranquility that pervades the place. There is also the odd feeling that although this place IS a city, its shape and concept defer to the land around it, not vice versa. Vehicles --usually hovercraft-- are infrequent; almost all the Ylii are walking --or swinging-- to wherever they're bound, and none of them seem to be in a rush. None of the Ylii are clothed, although a few (Betas and Alphas) are carrying tools of one sort or another. Lit by the golden glow of the K-type star, and seen against a backdrop of the green-blue bioluminescent foliage, the entire setting is a pastorale of unearthly beauty.

The Ylii will be equally interested in the humans, gazing at them and whistling their odd version of hello, which Vish translates as meaning `This first meeting is a plesure and a gift to be honored.' The Ylii seem to find nothing inherently rude in staring --often for prolonged periods of time-- and also seem to have no modesty taboos. However, they emanate an air of having respect for EVERYTHING they come into contact with.

The next item on the agenda is a meeting with a council of deltas, mostly comprised of the Conceiver species. This is the rough equivalent of the heart of the Ylii government. This group of individuals will be very polite, glad to share any information they have --including their outlook on life, the universe, and everything-- but will also try to get a few key questions of their own answered. These are:

1) Why did the humans come here?

2) HOW did the humans get here?

3) Do the humans have any message from their leaders? (Although in Ylii, the word for leader literally means, `most-cautious Great-thinker.)

The players can be as open --or closed-- about these matters as they wish. However, in the case of each question, there are some important Ylii attitudes that already exist, and may influence the Ylii reactions to the characters' answers.

The Ylii HOPE to learn that the humans came here because they discovered some Ylii in the course of fighting the Kafers and wanted to become friends with the entirety of the Ylii race. (Remember; to most of the Ylii, `becoming friends' means that they will begin to widen their polytaxic society to include humans.) Although the Ylii will be less pleased (and less trusting) if the sole motivation for contact is presented as an alliance against the Kafers, the Ylii will still be receptive. After all, they NEED allies badly --and in a hurry. However, they have an innate discomfort with the notion of making friends with a different race simply to join forces in an effort to injure a third species. The more violence-oriented humans seem, the less comfortable the Ylii will be with them. The fact that humanity has fought the Kafers in self-defense and has tried to communicate with them regarding a peaceful solution doesn't really change this discomfort. The Ylii reaction is not logical; it is instinctual.

As to how the humans got here, the Ylii are hoping to learn that the humans are now in control of the Kafer gateway system of HC +25 1902. This is the only way (known to the Ylii of this `Second Civilization') that they can travel to systems beyond the last three they have been restricted to. The characters will not be able to mislead the Ylii into thinking that they did come from this direction, however. The Ylii will ask questions regarding conditions in systems lying along that rout. The players will not be able to `fake' answers to these queries. It is inevitable, therefore, that the Ylii will come to realize that the humans arrived in Ssuushni'a via a different route, or a more power interstellar transit technology.

Regarding a message from humanity's leaders, the Ylii will be grateful for any word of friendship or alliance. They will be alarmed if the characters' statements reveal (either directly or indirectly) that the humans, too, are sorely pressed by the Kafers and their vicious attacks. However, this will only strengthen the resolve of the Deltas to pursue some sort of alliance with the humans.

There is one last point that underlies Ylii thoughts about the Kafers. This is a desire to prevent them from being wiped out. As deadly and destructive as the Kafer's are --the Ylii call them `ze'yluYlii' (literally: the unthinking thinkers)-- the Ylii simply cannot accept the notion that any race or species MUST be exterminated to preserve another. The concept of control and containment is difficult enough for them to accept. Consequently, any brusque, militaristic jingoism such as `it's us or them' will strike a decidedly sour note with the Ylii, who find such attitudes very similar to those evinced by the Kafers. Once again, the fact that the Kafers STARTED the war does somewhat explain and excuse the human reaction --but not much.

In the final analysis, the Ylii will wish to discuss things further with the small-eyed-thinkers, and will offer to send an envoy back with the group. To no one's surprise, this envoy will be Vish. Regardless of who disagrees with him or why, Dumaine will be adamant about accepting this offer of an envoy. (In fact, if he is thwarted in this, he will prevent the departure of the ship until the group accedes to his demand.)

However, before the Deltas come to their momentous decisions regarding the humans, several days will pass. Over this time, Vish will be the group's constant (and extremely likable) companion. It is likely that during this time, the players will hear some things which hint at the current ethical/ecological crises that the Ylii find themselves caught up in. Should they wish to pursue the matter with any of the deltas, their comments will be welcomed, and in some cases, eagerly sought after. Despite their cultural orthodoxy, the Ylii are among the universe's most open-minded creatures and consider the perspective of an outsider to be valuable.

These contacts and discussions --which the referee should present as being extremely casual, if interesting, affairs-- may in fact be the most profound things the characters do while on Ssuushni'a. As Vish and the deltas are stimulated by the human perspective, they will consider new viewpoints, new possibilities regarding the future of the Ylii and what it means to be a sophont. The referee should reread the section (in the accompanying article of the Ylii) that covers Ylii/Human interaction prior to handling these conversations.

 

 

 

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