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The Final War saw the Concordiat of Man and the Melconian Empire end in fire and death. The light of civilization was extinguished across an entire galactic arm, and the scars of that war—the planets with no life to this very day—are grim and terrible reminders of the unspeakable things two highly advanced cultures did to one another out of fear and hate . . . and stupidity.

But a star-traveling species is hard to exterminate. Here and there, pockets of life remained, some Human, some Melconian, and survivors clawed their way through the Long Night. They became farmers once more, sometimes even hunter-gatherers, denied the stars which once had been their toys, yet they never forgot. And slowly, ever so slowly, they learned to reach once more for the heavens.

Our own New Republic was one of the first successor states to reclaim the stars, but deep inside, we were afraid. Afraid some fragment of the Melconian Empire still lived, to resume the war and crush all that we had so painfully regained.

Until, that is, we reached the Deveraux System and discovered a thriving colony there, emplaced by the Star Union of Ararat a half-century earlier and administered by Governor Stanfield Na-Harak and his military commander, Commodore Tharsk Fordham. For two hundred standard years now, the Union has been the Republic's staunch ally and economic partner. We have defended one another against common foes, traded with one another, and learned much from one another, yet on that long ago day of first contact, our survey officers were stunned to discover Melconians and Humans living together as fellow citizens. Our own memories and fears had prepared us to imagine almost anything except a culture in which the ancient enemies who had destroyed a galaxy were friends, comrades—even adoptive members of one another's clans.

We asked them how it had happened, of course, and Governor Stanfield referred us to their capital world of Ararat, where Bolo XXXIII/D-1097-SHV, Speaker Emeritus of the Union Parliament, gave us the simplest answer of all.

"It was time," he said . . . and it was.

—Professor Felix Hermes, Ph.D.
From Bolos in Their Own Words 
New Republic University Press, 4029

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