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Simplicity is the greatest accomplishment of the Universe Confederation. However, simplicity tends to shelter complex dilemmas. All intelligent species in the Universe live by their succinct Constitution: no true intelligent life form can harm in any way or interfere with another unless it is directly harmed or interfered with. The Constitution has never been broken, not even in the most complicated differendums.
Different experiments had been set up in the Universe outskirts to try to understand the transition to high intelligence; researcher Geb is assigned a particularly promising one. To everyone’s surprise, this experiment succeeds and self-conscious preintelloids evolve and thrive. But, on a routine analysis, Geb finds astonishing evidence of a new technological development that would allow preintelloids to migrate from their star-planetary system and meet their creators.
The Confederation has two uncomfortable choices: either terminate the experiment and risk going against the Constitution, or not interfere and risk an invasion by a potentially dangerous species.