The close of 2231 brought a truly remarkable discovery, one worthy of all note in our historical logs. Whereas our previous encounters with foreign, alien species had yielded little in the way of cultural exchange, one of our explorers discovered a new civilization, equally as advanced as ours. Calling themselves the Oklarr Council, they resided near our empire but distant enough that only in our third decade of space travel were they discovered.

Xenophobic and oppressively spiritual, their leadership decried our scientific advancements and lack of what they called “religious enlightenment.” Translators were able to understand that they wished us to remain far away from their empire, in order to avoid “defiling” what they saw as their destiny.

The honorable Petals of Grey met with their leaders and acknowledged that we had no interest in their pursuits, their space, or their resources, and would remain a neutral party. This seemed to placate the strange, woolly bipeds, for the time being. Both empires agreed to close borders to one another, so no unexpected contact would displease either side.

Whole new avenues of research opened with this discovery, including no small interest in what scientific advances the Oklarr had devised. Though their culture was as alien to us as their biology, there undoubtedly would be benefit in studying their current, as well as past successes and failures in the sciences.

Following swiftly on the heels of discovery, a third powerful faction began to rise in Lavan politics. Calling themselves the “Free Thought Network,” their stated purpose was to ensure that no intelligent life was subjugated or demonized, whether members of our own species or others. They celebrated our judicious and careful use of robotic agents, the lack of a defined social caste system, and the freedom we encouraged for all members to discover their own place in society.

Their views did not put them in a good light for the Military-Industrial Complex, which began calling their ideas childish and naive. Undoubtedly the two factions would one day come to blows, unless the wise scientific council could stem the hostilities.