Book 1, Chapter 89

Elroy found himself trapped under the expectant gaze of the Commander and a wall of disapproving senior researchers arrayed behind himself. He swallowed nervously and then pulled images of the escaped terrans onto the ship’s main screen.

“My respected senior researchers,” he started, “have been looking for physical evidence of what caste terran specimens belong to. They have been stymied so far in their attempt to form a definitive mapping between physical characteristics and societal position or professional abilities. My research indicates that this is because terrans, as a whole, lack castes as we understand them.”

There was an outraged warble from the senior researchers, but the commander silenced them before it could form into a coherent protest.

“And this matters because…?” she asked.

“If I am correct, Elroy said, “it is important because it means that any given terran is capable of taking any given type of action. To simplify: We have researchers, warriors, workers; leaders – and someone who is one of those things cannot be one of the others. But a terran worker can, if necessary, be a leader. A researcher can be a worker. A warrior can be a researcher. The terrans do not have a genetic imperative to behave in a caste system – instead, their ‘castes’ are archetypes that they can emulate based on their current needs and the composition of the group they are interacting with. And I believe the escaped terrans have found themselves in a situation that prompts them to emulate the behaviors of a different set of archetypes than they portrayed when they were captured. Archetypes that are extremely dangerous to us. Archetypes that terran media refers to, collectively, as ‘protagonists.’ Or, in lay terms, ‘heroes.’”

Et Alia, Book 1: Aliens, Ninjas, Demons and Pie

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