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Among the many anecdotes Trade Master Greenish of the Melnorme related to the Human Captain Zelnick during their association in the Second War of the Alliance was the story of the native inhabitants of the planet Algol 4; apparently Greenish did not know the species' name, lacked a usable transliteration or translation of it, or simply refused to give it for his own reasons (as he often did with various details of his anecdotes). In any case, he simply dubbed the race Algolites after the Human name for their star.

When an initial misunderstanding between the New Alliance Humans and the Melnorme led to brief hostilities, the Melnorme rescinded their initial offer to open peaceful information-trading relations with the Humans. In Zelnick's original talks with Greenish attempting to restore relations with the Melnorme, Greenish brushed aside Zelnick's formal apology and assertion that the Humans' attack had been an accident with a typical Melnorme anecdote illustrating the uselessness of expressions of regret and claims of nonintentionality, comparing the Humans to their cowardly Spathi enemies.

Greenish related how the Spathi, in their expanding wave of colonization, established a base on Algol 4 and a peaceful relationship with the surrounding Algolites. Finding the climate unsuited to their needs, the Spathi, apparently without consulting the Algolites, thoughtlessly set up terraforming equipment to (they thought) slightly, harmlessly alter the planet's atmosphere. Unfortunately, their equipment malfunctioned and set off a catastrophic chain reaction; in typical Spathi fashion, the colonists fled rather than attempting to correct their mistake, and the resulting disaster ended up stripping off most of Algol 4's atmosphere and wiping out the Algolites. Greenish challenged Zelnick as to whether the Spathi's regret or the nonintentionality of their actions were in any way sufficient atonement for the Algolites' extinction, leading Zelnick to eventually acquiesce and meet the Melnorme's demands for reparations.

The Melnorme, presumably, learned this story during their association with the Spathi somehow; whether they have any further knowledge or involvement in this incident, and what the Spathi might have to say for themselves about the issue, remains unknown thanks to the slave-shielding of the Spathi and the cryptic nature of the Melnorme.