“A long time ago in a neighboring star system, we were contacted by our former cosmic neighbors. The developing hominid species formerly known to us as humans, which had once evolved on 3HZ1A, otherwise known as Earth, a small habitable terrestrial planet orbiting a midrange spectral class 5 star in our home galaxy, GC1.a, also known as the Milky Way galaxy by former humans. Humans were a relatively primitive carbon-based organic species. Intelligent, mostly altruistic and empathetic, with some primitive technological capability and great potential to evolve, yet never reached maturity or Evolutionary Stage 2 (ES2) by our measure. Which is the subject of today’s meeting. We want to comment on a study that our colleagues at the Galactic Federation University have published in a recent issue of the astroevolutionary journal, Scientifica Galactica, volume 3, cycle 1.342 titled “The Extinction of Species 1337659-a”, which places blame firmly on our handling of the events that transpired on the date of GC13537856.24.42, or approximately 1333 Earth years ago.

There’s a common opinion among a rather sizable group within our species that humans were primitive, unintelligent, and too aggressive. This belief has been compounded by the fact that some of us, who will remain nameless, have stated publicly that they believe it was a futile effort on our part to give assistance to humans, and moreover, that we certainly should not have shared our technology with a species so primitive because they were not ready for such advances. Some have even gone so far as to say that we broke Galactic Federal Law simply by replying to their communication, and further, responding to their request for assistance for their existential dilemma.

I assure you that our actions, though well-meaning, were in fact the direct cause of human extinction.”

Surprised gasps from the audience and council members. The Prime raised his hand, and quiet decorum resumed. “Continue.” instructed the Prime.

“We received an interstellar-communication via a rather primitive radio-wave transmission. This is nothing new and quite common, as you know, but this time wasn’t the normal ‘Hey we’re here.’ kind of transmission. It was instead a direct request for communication and assistance. This was different. It was using a pattern we immediately identified as a signal of a higher intellect, a more technologically advanced species. Which of course intrigued our scientists.

What we didn’t know at the time however, was that one of our own university students had sent the message at the request of the humans.” He paused.

”From Earth.”

Another loud gasp from the audience. This time the Prime did not raise his hand, but instead calmly asked, “How is this possible?”

The scientist continued.

“Like I said, we didn’t know it at the time, but one of our GFU students had traveled to the star system without permission, to work on their thesis.”

The Prime interrupted, “You know this is strictly prohibited, how did this happen?”

“The student commandeered a craft from our research facility on the Goan moon out beyond Giemede, and used the Galactic Transport System to travel to Earth’s star system. Once there, while observing the local biological fauna, the student was captured by the planet’s governmental military forces and taken into custody.

From there the communication was sent, we received it, and the rest as you know is history.

“Carry on,” said the Prime.

“The student didn’t realize it at the time, but the starcraft, –which we know travels through interstellar space using our advanced technology which effectively creates a spacetime bubble, thereby allowing it to transport from one star system to the next instantly– wasn’t programmed or operated correctly.

The student had not been trained on the craft, did not input the correct coordinates into the system, and ended up miscalculating the distance to earth by a measure of just .024 percent. This, as you can probably guess, resulted in the craft appearing within the star system’s outer edge.”

Murmurs from the audience. The Prime lowered his head knowingly.

The scientist continued.

“As we know, most star systems have what’s known to us as the outer-boundary. Clouds of ice and dust particles at the furthest most influence of the system star’s gravity. Some of these particles are small, some massive near planet-sized celestial bodies, and they number in the trillions. The distances between these objects is great, however, from time to time, about every 25-30 million Earth years the Earth’s parent star’s solar twin, known as a brown dwarf by former humans, travels along a highly elliptical orbit through the star system’s outer-boundary, (named the Oort Cloud). The effects of gravity from the brown dwarf periodically perturbs/nudges some celestial masses, flinging them into the inner solar system.”

“I see where this is going. This is why we have rules. How did a grad student gain access to a starcraft and a portal?” asked the Prime.

“I understand your concern, your honor, please let me continue.” replied the scientist.

The Prime nodded.

“We reviewed the records of the communications and the security logs, travel logs, and all other related data and concluded that the student had hacked the GFU AI, falsified system information, created their own access codes inside our security system gaining physical access to the ship, stole the starcraft and used the onboard portable portal generator to travel to the star system. But as we now know the calculations were off by a small percentage and the ship appeared within the Oort Cloud. The student, realizing the mistake, quickly corrected, used the portal again, this time accurately transporting the craft into an orbit behind Earth’s moon. Apparently this was not close enough for the student’s liking so he decided to Enter Earth’s atmosphere, whereupon he was captured by the military of the United Global Federation of Nations.

The UGFN interrogated our student for a few Earth months. After the interrogation, with access to the GFU starcraft and some rudimentary reverse engineering of the craft’s communications system, the humans were able to contact us.

Unbeknownst to most of their species at that time, a new comet had been discovered.

Apparently the student’s use of the starcraft’s portal within the Oort Cloud had displaced one of the icy bodies. When the student activated the portal within the outer-boundary -which we know is specifically prohibited to prevent something like this from happening- the gravity field affected the surrounding area some 1.2 astrometers in all directions, unintentionally disturbing the orbit of a large body, sending it into the inner star system.

This body was 0.4 astrometers wide, or approximately 150 Earth kilometers in size. They had calculated its trajectory to intersect Earth’s orbit in less than 3 earth years from the date of discovery. It was an extinction level object. The ELO was going to impact their planet and destroy all life.

This however, is not what happened, as we know all too well.

Our records show that once they contacted our species and requested open line communications this triggered the series of events that led to the extinction of species 1337659-a. And we, the GFU, are prepared to make that statement now.”

“Am I and this court to understand that you speak today completely willingly and freely?” Asked the Prime.

“Yes.”

“Do you attest that you have not been threatened or coerced or forced to testify here today?”

“Yes.”

“Furthermore, do you attest that you are currently under no threat or duress or that there is no threat to any friend, family or anyone known to you?”

“Yes.”

“Am I and this honorable court to understand and record that you are authorized to speak on behalf of the full body of the GFU, and are on this day, GC13537856.24.42, hereby accepting full and total responsibility for the extinction of species 1337659-a?” asked the Prime with some detectable measure of sadness in his voice.

“Yes.” the scientist paused. “I am, your honor. The GFU has authorized and instructed me to speak on their behalf and further, to fully accept unconditionally with no reservations, the full responsibility of our actions. Actions which the evidence and our testimony shows, directly resulted in the extinction of species 1337659-a and subsequently the destruction of planet 3HZ1A, within star system SS1337659.”

“It has been duly noted by this court, and recorded in the Intergalactic Federation Court Archive, on this day, GC13537856.24.42, that the GFU has willingly admitted and accepted full responsibility for the extinction of species 1337659-a. Let it be known galaxy wide, that the parties involved have already been punished, and no further action shall be taken against the GFU, it’s officers, staff, faculty, students, their families, friends, and/or associates. This is the ruling of this court, authorized by me, the duly elected Prime and current interim chair of these proceedings. Sentencing has been carried out and no further action shall be required by any party. Please raise your hands if you agree.” he directed the audience and other Council members.

Everyone raised their hands in unison.

“Those opposed, any objections shall now be heard, please raise your hands.”

No one voted no.

“Let it be recorded, this court finds the defendants, the GFU, Guilty of breaking Galactic Federation Guidelines, GFG section 33856.24. Sentencing has already been carried out, time served, no further action shall be taken. Ladies and gentlemen of the galaxy, this court session has ended and is now permanently dissolved.”

Everyone cheered. Except one.

It was a necessary formality, a relatively ceremonial meeting, and an academic triumph for the GFU. They had managed to avoid a catastrophe while also protecting their people, the data, the institution, and the Galactic Federation at large. It was a win/win for everyone involved. Even humans.

They are, after all, officially extinct now.

The scientist pressed the button on the screen switching it off, turned to his student and said with a grin,

“You owe me!”

“I know.” said the student, smiling.

They exited the starcraft.

The Earth was beautiful this time of year.

A large crowd of post-humans gathered around them and cheered.

“Long live the GFU!”

***