the Guest Lectures:

The Peace That

Almost Was

The planet known as Sraal or Paal has a long and complex history. Located at the crossroads of several galactic empires, it has been repeatedly invaded by alien armies over the millenia. To make things worse, the ancient Sraali religion gave rise to two highly proselytic cults, Kriisli and Miisli, which spread from planet to planet. Each sectorial power adopted either the Kriislian or the Miislian religion which gave them an added excuse for interstellar war. Both sects considered Sraal their Holy Planet Kriislis and Miislis fought for control of the planet and its holy places, and most of the Sraalis fled into space, scattering to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Both sects hated the Sraalis for failing to accept their respective prophets.

The Sraali exiles were often persecuted both by Kriislis and Miislis but after a series of appalling massacres a group of Sraalis decided to return to ther ancestral planet to create a safe haven for their wandering compatriots. They found the planet inhabited by their close relatives, the Paalis, but occupied by Orkish forces. 

At first it seemed the starfaring Sraali settlers could coexist with the agrarian indigenous Paalis, but a combination of inter-imperial wars and intervention of alien powers together with xenophobia and distrust of the two sides, squabbling over resources and real estate, shortsightedness of leaders, and religious conflict (most of the Paalis were Miislis) pushed the sides into war after war.

During one of these wars the Paalis convinced nearby Miisli powers to invade the planet and drive out the Sraalis. The Sraalis drove off the invasion and occupied all the Paali areas of the planet.

After years of destructive, pointless conflict the Sraali and Paali leaders realized that only coexistence could save both their peoples. They began meeting on nearby planets, secretly at first and then publicly under the auspices of regional powers. In this statue was represented a high point in the peace process, with interplanetary arbitrator Bill Klingon blessing the handshake of Araabin and Araafin, leaders of the two sides.

But just as negotiating teams were closing the final details, groups on both sides decided that since 'force is the only language they understand' a little violence would improve their leaders' bargaining position. The result was a rapid plunge back into death and destruction.

Our guest lecturers, Saara and Hagaara, became close friends during the peace process and remain close through the conflict and killing, and share the hope that sentience will, for their world, win out over chaos....