"Is that the Progenitor's brain?" Zakharov zoomed into the leaf-like clusters on the scanners.

"It's an organ in its head with no other obvious function," Dr. Montanari said. He sounded unhappy, more so than simply having to explain what he was doing to someone outside the field. "These specimens should at least help us figure out how these beings work."

Zakharov could understand his annoyance. "Live specimens would be better yet. Failing that, the soldiers should have been more careful and not damaged the samples so much."

"This isn't something to joke about! My lover died, you know."

It wasn't a joke. "I'm sorry for your loss. Even in this state, these specimens are treasures." There seemed to be one primary stem everything ran back to, with the main connectors highly hierarchical. The University should build a neural net with that structure and see what sort of results it produced.

"That they are. I wish you had let them bring back the bodies of our fallen as well though."

Zakharov looked up. "It was a matter of space." In addition to the three and a half dead aliens, the reconnaissance patrol had returned with as much of the Progenitor vehicle's scrap as they could retrieve instead. The engineers were fighting over who could study it first. "These offer far more insights. Maybe we'll even come closer to understanding how the Progenitors think!"

"Maybe you should learn how humans think first." Montanari turned away.

The End