A short story by Oren Hurvitz
The patent wars had raged across the galaxy for millenia. No one remembered when they had started or why, but the costs were enormous.
An unfavorable patent ruling forced the colonists of Zaduri 7 to breed a strain of Torril beasts that lacked a crucial gene. The results were worse than anyone could have predicted. Without the Self-Regulating gene the Torril beasts were unable to feel satiety, so they ate every lifeform that the colonists brought with them; every indigenous lifeform; their human masters; and finally each other. By the time the rescue party arrived at Zaduri 7 the planet contained nothing but bones.
The Galactic Court of Supreme Justice denied the Zetta Collective’s last-ditch appeal, forcing them to leave on the Great Exodus in slower-than-light ships. In the long years that passed since then the galactic community discovered that the Zettas’ new home will become uninhabitable by the time they arrive due to radiation from a nearby supernova. The Zettas are expected to die out.
The Supreme Commander of the Appolonians stared out of the great diamond shell of his habitat off Jove. The planet’s artificial rings blazed in the sun, millions of lights signalling the presence of his employees’ micro-habitats. On rare occasions a foolhardy senso-reporter would ask him why he persisted in the patent wars, but the Commander would only stare until the reporter slunk away. Some said that the patent wars had begun because of a grave insult delivered during a dinner party. Others thought that the wars were an edict from a long-dead leader. But in his heart, the Commander knew that the question itself was at fault. The patent wars did not begin for any reason, because they had never not existed. “We’ve always been at war with the Samsogi,” he told his Nikkiri pet. The little reptile grinned mysteriously and said nothing.