J. Mitch Hopper
He pulled the term slowly from his mouth, as if the word itself were aging as he spoke it.
"Their life-span was to ours as yours is to the grass-beetle. When they first made contact in 1940, they were aware that, if nothing else, we had developed to a point of working with metallic elements and had some appreciation of natural beauty. We collected flowers and made keys. Then in 2170, the second intelligent probe arrived and sent back information of a civilization that had achieved space-flight and nuclear fusion - a people who fought decimating wars and had no world-order of governance. They discovered that we were capable of altering the genetic make-up of our own biology both for good and evil. What made them most afraid of us was that we had come to this point of technological development in a mere three or four hundred years. Theirs had taken hundreds and hundreds of millennia."
"Why did that frighten them so, Master?"
"What would be your feelings, little one, if the beetle that we found today had discovered how to make fire and was building a lethal weapon tomorrow? What if he learned to speak your language overnight? What would you suppose you would find the day after that?"
"Ohhhhh. I see. Iíd be very afraid of him. I might be tempted to step on him and not find out what the next day would bring. It would be a shameful thing but I suspect thatís what I would do."
"And so felt the Deltans."