The entryway made little noise as Sa’Jud entered the office quarters of Az’ob. The corridor was full of light and laughter as a ship full of Dux Moribus supporters rejoiced in the preservation of their safety and security. As Sa’Jud stepped beyond the threshold of the doorway into Az’ob’s area of business all light and sound ceased. At the observation window stood Az’ob deep in thought and gazing out at the floating debris that was once home to an entire civilization.
Joining his leader at the window Sa’Jud looked upon the rubble, a toothy grin crept across his small head as he finally broke the silence. “Justice is beautiful, isn’t it Moderator.”
Az’ob tilted his gaze slightly towards Sa’Jud before returning to face the so-called justice outside his window. “Is it justice, I wonder. The inhabitants of this planet were unaware that they were being gauged by The Council of Dux Moribus.”
Sa’Jud’s grin waned and his eyes narrowed. “It is because they were unaware that you were able to discern their true natures. They committed horrible crimes to their own kinsmen, did they not?”
Az’ob nodded his head, “Aye, they did.”
“Then they surely would commit more severe crimes against those who are not of their kin.”
“Perhaps.” Az’ob turned away from the window with a heavy shrug and walked towards his workstation. “And yet,” he paused by his desk, shuffling paperwork as he spoke, “we have all shown the capability to change. Many of us have evolved from primitive species to what we are today. Had we been held to the same standards that we hold still forming species to would any of us be here now?”
“With all due respect, the majority of Dux Moribus is comprised of species that evolved into peaceful orders long before our technology allowed us to interact with life beyond our own worlds. This is how we gauge the threat level of each sentient species we monitor. If they’ll soon be joining us in exploring the cosmos and they threaten to bring war with them, they must be exterminated. We—”
“We are front-line defenders, protectors of peace. I’m familiar with our slogan.”
“Then why are you questioning it? You should be out there with the rest of us celebrating the removal of a threat.” Sa’Jud gestured towards the main lobby of the ship where all crew members were currently raising flasks of froth and cheering.
Az’ob shifted his weight and sat upon the edge of his desk. “No, no. You’re right. Forgive my moment of gloomy brooding. You should return to the celebration. I’ll join you for a froth after I’ve cleared my head a bit.” He stroked his forehead as he returned his focus to re-reorganizing the paperwork on his desk.
Sa’Jud bowed towards the Moderator and dismissed himself from his quarters.
Alone again, Az’ob let out a heavy sigh and shook his shoulders to relieve his tension. The mantle of peace was bearing down on him and the ever-growing pressure was taking its toll on him emotionally. He retreated to his private chamber within his quarters. The window within his sleeping area was home to a wide bare shelf that had no obvious purpose. He placed his hand upon the shelf and materialized incense from within the ship. He removed a small cube from a pouch on the chest of his suit and with a few clicks he made a small hologram of Wuq’lin before its destruction and placed it beside the now burning incense. He bowed his head towards the debris floating past his window and whispered “May you find peace among the stars.”
The celebration had begun to die down by the time Az’ob made it out of his quarters to join the festivities. His presence went unnoticed as he sat down by the passed-out Sa’Jud in the darkened lounge. All around him he could hear the hushed whispers of intoxicated crewmates as they discussed their firsthand accounts of Wuq’lin’s light show.
A new cadet was sitting across the way and speaking louder than the rest of the drunk party-goers. “I’ve never seen a cleansing before, this was my first time. Do they all glow that brightly before they break apart?” He took a swig of his froth as an older member responded, “It depends on the planet type. My first cleansing was a planet that had a combustible atmosphere. Something about it made everything turn a royal purple in the blast.”
The cadet’s eyes were wide with wonder. “Magnificent. I hope the next one I see changes colors too.”
Cera just wanted to share her latest astrophotography with a small group of fellow night sky enthusiasts, but when her images go viral for exposing alien life she becomes the interest of both her government and the Judger of Worlds. Cera has spent her life hiding under the darkness of night skies and she absolutely does not like having the limelight shining on her. The light exposes too much and with it, she learns that the Galatic "Good Guys" maintain interstellar peace through the destruction of all advanced and aggressive civilizations. Earth will soon be advanced enough to join the rest of the universe, but are they peaceful enough to dodge the "Delete All" button of the Judger of Worlds? Probably not, but Cera might be able to convince the Judge to bend the rules. Well, maybe.