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and please come in peace, we beseech you
Only a landing will teach them
Our earth may never survive
So do come, we beg you
Please interstellar policeman
Oh, won't you give us a sign
Give us a sign that we've reached you
. The two books show at least one solution to the Fermi paradox, with electromagnetically noisy civilizations being snuffed out by the arrival of self-replicating machines designed to destroy any potential threat to their (possibly long-dead) creators
They frantically collect all the human data, biological records, tissue samples, seeds, and DNA from the biosphere that they can, and evacuate a handful of people from Earth. In space, this faction's machines combat and eventually destroy the attackers, though not before Earth's fate is sealed. The evacuees eventually settle a newly terraformed Mars while some form the crew of a Ship of the Law to hunt down the home world of the killers, a quest described in the sequel, Anvil of Stars.
The Prime Directive prohibits Starfleet personnel and spacecraft from interfering in the normal development of any society, and mandates that any Starfleet vessel or crew member is expendable to prevent violation of this rule and As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.