Steve’s shorts: The ITUIP Protocol…

[Perhaps you’ve read about this in Rogue Planet. This story’s about more than the Protocol, though…]

The ITUIP Protocol

Copyright 2017, Steven M. Moore

“Layers and layers of bureaucracy,” said Lars Beltran, the Human.

“The clan model would be simpler,” said Grabek, the Tali.

“I agree,” said Fisher-of-Rivers, the Ranger.

The AI translated what the latter two said for Beltran almost immediately, its voice murmuring into the com device implanted in the side of his head. Of course, it had also translated what he had said into the Tali’s guttural language and the Rangers’ buzzspeak; they both had similar devices.

“How can we avoid it?” said Beltran.

Fisher-of-Rivers, who was balanced on a stool, waved some tentacles. “Good question. You Humans depend on it so much. You’d think you would have found a solution by now.”

“Social layering is required,” said Grabek. “I envision a loose union. Each planet should determine its own organization within the loose set of rules of a federation. The latter shouldn’t have to preoccupy itself with details of planetary administration.”

“We already have our loose set of rules, guidelines that will be enforced to gain membership and maintain it. There are other things the federation should be in charge of—general defense, space exploration for scientific advance and colonialization, and so forth.”

“The present Space Exploration Bureau works well for the latter,” said Fisher-of-Rivers. “I’m not sure about mutual defense. Will the federation get in a bind when one planet feuds with another?”

“Not if the feuding is handled within a multi-tiered judicial system,” said Grabek. “Let’s again discuss the rules for admission. There are a lot of crazy planets in near-Earth space, as you Humans call it. We trade with a lot of them now. I see the federation as more of an economic union, but we need to somehow shield the federation from craziness.”

“Do you mean craziness like the old Tali empire trying to exterminate all intelligent lifeforms other than the Tali?” said the Ranger.

Grabek bristled, but it didn’t show in his orange fur. His anger was signaled by the twitching, independent motion of his ears. His black, leathery face was always inscrutable, and his fur was always carefully preened.

He studied the Ranger. That was the Humans’ name for them. Where Humans and Tali were bipeds, the Ranger was more like a furry water bug, with its hind legs jointed backwards and ending with feet that looked like boat oars. Its hands were at the ends of two tentacles protruding from around its mouth organ.

“We’ve changed our ways,” said Grabek after calming down. “We’re planning for the future here. Please stay on topic.”

“But our friend Fisher-of-Rivers has a point,” said Beltran. “We cannot expect every planet to be friendly. In fact, some might be more than unfriendly.”

“Those need to be quarantined,” said the Ranger. “Like a plague.”

“That’s a bit strong,” said Grabek. “I suggest this subcommittee adjourn until tomorrow. We should talk about these issues in our delegations.”


“I don’t trust the Tali,” said Fisher-of-Rivers.

“If the three Earth colonies come up with some good ideas, the Tali will go along,” said Beltran. “They have the most to lose, after all. A federation would ensure the peace with them and benefit them tremendously in trade.”

Jamal O’Connell, the planet Sanctuary’s envoy, winked at his Novo Mondo counterpart. “The planet Sanctuary would too. New Haven and Novo Mondo can be more independent, but Sanctuary needs trade. A trade union is the way to go. Everything else flows from that.”

“I think New Haven, Novo Mondo, and Sanctuary are in agreement for the most part,” said Beltran, who was chairperson of the hearings to set up the federation. “I don’t think the Tali want to give up their independence. At home they still have many of the old guard who desire the return of the Empire and its domination of near-Earth space.”

“On the other hand, the smart ones among them don’t want to be left out,” said Fisher-of-Rivers. “They’re the ones getting rich off trade.”


Grabek pounded his fist on the table. “The old ways won’t work now!” he said. “We stand to gain more from joining this federation. You’re all idiots!”

Torvak, his nemesis in the Tali delegation, growled a guttural warning. “Lower-ranked citizens have no business insulting those of higher rank.”

Grabek stood. “Are we going to let those mired in the past determine our future? You can perpetuate the old caste system ad infinitum and the Tali Empire’s planets will become poor and inconsequential as a result. We don’t like Humans, Rangers, or any of the others, but we must do business with them to survive.”

“Can we leave this federation if we feel it’s necessary?” said Golad, another one of the uncommitted who was less belligerent.

“Article Fifteen in the proposal allows a member planet or affiliated member planets to leave,” said Grabek. “We’d be cutting the throats of our economy if we do so, but there is that option.”

“I don’t see what the problem is then,” Golad said to Torvak. “An exit door remains open.”

“We lose control of our fates,” said Torvak.

“We lost control of our fates when the Humans and Rangers discovered the faster-than-light drive,” said Grabek. “By joining them, we can share our scientific and technological advances as well as becoming rich from trading. We can copy almost anything and manufacture it more cheaply. I envision different planets in the federation having their own unique specialties too. Consider how Earth’s Humans and Talis have become leaders in the robotics field.” He tugged each ear once, a sign that he was about to finish. “The federation will evolve, and we can evolve with it. Shall we vote?”

Torvak was the only vote in contra.


The following day,Grabek was surprisingly cooperative. After agreeing on the articles of federation, Beltran suggested they approve the Protocol. When the Interstellar Trade Union of Independent Planets finally was created, it became the ITUIP Protocol. Their work was finished for the time being.


As noted above, the ITUIP Protocol plays a big role in Rogue Planet. To understand how events in near-Earth space lead to and evolve around those in this story, you’ll have to read the “Chaos Chronicles Trilogy.” A bundle of the three novels, Survivors of the Chaos, Sing a Zamba Galactica, and Come Dance a Cumbia…with Stars in Your Hand!, will soon be published. Or, you can read the individual books and Rogue Planet right now.

In libris libertas….

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