(7x21) Nurbal Enemy: Part 1, Episode 3
As the panic in the wake of the alien attacks subsides and some semblance of old-fashioned non-automated civilization resumes again, Amouch organizes an expedition to cautiously explore in the direction that the attack came from. Most military hardware having been destroyed in the attack, and first priority on construction of new hardware going toward maintaining domestic peace, the expedition is forced to proceed largely unarmed, and those volunteers willing to be a part of it are lauded for their courage, even as others dismiss the entire idea as lunacy, like poking a hornet's nest.
The exploratory mission eventually discovers what appear to be peaceful, technologically advanced worlds of the Ehrban diaspora, connected in their own little network of reactivated wormholes, who they learn were until recently under the protection of the Asiron. The Asiron were something like organic robots, created long ago by Keius in contravention of the taboo against autonomous artificial intelligence, nearly causing a galactic disaster until Keius quickly got their programming in check and assured they would be more considerate of matters Ehrban considered important. Even then, he did not trust them with much autonomy until desperate times of galactic war required he send them out to defeat the Berol and save the Ehrban. For millennia the Asiron have done just that, and on worlds where they remain, the Ehrban have lived in utopias for all that time.
But the Nurbal's automatons under the control of The Machine were not so carefully instructed, despite the careful effort put into it by the first colonists. Being told to protect all Ehrban, and knowing that an existential alien threat to the Ehrban may exist out there in the galaxy, the Machine's automatons immediately attack the Asiron, seeing them as an alien force ruling over, rather than serving and protecting, these Ehrban worlds. The Asiron then retaliated in turn, with the consequences already seen; meaning no attack on any Ehrban, but only defense of themselves from The Machine. The Ehrban of these Asiron-protected worlds are justifiably furious at the Alliance for their foolhardiness, and Amouch finds himself in the middle of a difficult diplomatic situation, as the Alliance faces off against the first force equal to itself it has thus far encountered, potentially its greatest allies, but also its greatest potential threat.
Next: Nurbal Enemy: Part 2, Episode 1