This is a translation/adaptation of my short story "La Cofradía", originally published on May 1st, 2010.
The Consul anxiously awaited the scoutship report.
Probe reports had been promising, which justified sending a scoutship ahead of the Concordat fleet.
But the Consul was not prepared for the report her nervous scout had just presented.
"Are you absolutely certain, Scout?"
"Utterly certain, your Serenity. Assimilating sector 2814 would irrevocably lead to the collapse and destruction of the Concordat"
The Consul frowned, rustling a few plates of her chitinous carapace.
"But the probes did report multiple carbon-based types of life forms, in addition to an oxygen cycle compatible with most of the Concordat species"
"That they did, your Serenity... but the global ecosystem is undergoing major disruptions; it is impossible to accurately forecast the end result, but it looks like it is collapsing"
"What caused it? A meteor strike? surges in volcanic or tectonic activity...?"
Scout's tongue nervously flicked around its eyes, as it tried to hold its nervousness in check.
"Your Serenity... The dominant species on the planet did this"
The Consul's pincers clicked as her venom gland went into overdrive
"They did it to themselves? They do not deserve their planet! We will assimilate them into the Concordat and fix it once and for all"
"Do not order it! It would be the end of us!" the Scout shouted, dropping all protocol.
"You better have a good explanation" Consul replied coldly, stretching one of her pincers towards the Scout. "Is their DNA not compatible with the Concordat's carbon-based life forms?"
The Scout steeled itself as it dove into its report
"Although they are have no remarkable features we'd find useful, their DNA is 89% compatible, well within established parameters. But the species as a whole seem to be on a self-destructive drive. What is happening to this planet is not recent. They have been poisoning it and themselves for generations.
And they kill each other - constantly".
"Your Serenity, for multiple reasons, most of which do not make sense, but include:
the pigmentation of their outer skin,
groups worship different deities,
A group of them will waste and destroy natural resources in a location, then attack the neighbouring locations for their resources to continue the cycle"
"They have begun exploring their natural satellite, and sent crude probes to neighbouring planets within this system.
Most significantly, they have placed rudimentary weaponry in orbit around their planet"
The Consul leaned forward.
"Scout, perhaps there is hope for them yet. Placing defenses around their planet shows rationality, and the capability of cooperating towards species survival, does it not?"
Scout licked its eyes once more.
"Forgive my clumsiness, Your Serenity... The ordnance in orbit is not for defence against invaders, ineffective as it would be against our systems. All their weapons are aimed at the planet surface itself".
The Consul stood to her full height, horrified.
"You are right, Scout: it is insane, suicidal, lacking all sense of preservation.
Withdraw all short-range probes from the orbit of the third planet, and place warning buoys to keep everyone away.
We will continue long-range scanning. Should they survive by some fluke, and in a few generations begin exploring beyond their system, we will have to decide what to do with the species of sector 2814.
In the meantime, the Concordat fleet will continue searching for intelligent life in other sectors".