"I am not familiar with that term.""Why do they change their minds so often - sometimes they help settlements, other times they go in guns blazing."
"Citizens are often too stubborn and do not change their minds enough. The problem is you are meeting different Citizens each time. ""But you're the ones with continued international communication. Why don't you have more cohesion?"
The alien shifted in its seat, the antenna drooped a bit, and it began drumming eight of its fingers on the table. Normally, they didn't betray their feeling so obviously, at least not in a manner that humans could tell. Part of their communication is in the ultrasonic spectrum and rather like some Asian languages - tone played a big role in meaning. I know they do have facial expressions, but its a bit more subtle, and spread over a fairly long face.
"Its part of why we are here.We do not get along so well, and our society tends to not break it up so well. There are three parts to it. Family, nation, and guild.
Families are the base of loyalty, and education - they are the ones that own land and resources generally. It is very rare for citizens to birth less than two children, four is more likely. In fact, a single birth is often taken as a omen of greatness. So they grow very quickly, and thus can come into conflict.
Nations are meant to organize families. They usually handle law enforcement and trade, sometimes transportation.
Guilds represent special industries - like metal workers, medical research, mercenaries. Generally speaking, nations do not have jurisdiction over guilds. The purpose of this is ... humanitarian... a nation can't stop the civilians from receiving building materials or medicine. But this also means that strategic materials can't be interdicted. A nation can ask a family to pressure its members to stop, but really doesn't have control.
So we have powerful extended families, entered into strategic alliances, and its illegal to stop certain supplies from reaching your enemies, even if they're produced in your own country. Conflicts can either get very vicious, or end up as being fought in the shadows.
An international coalition is in charge of the space program. Party, to demonstrate what we can do if we work together, but also to try and find a way to put as many miles between warring factions as possible. However, exploration fleets need to be made of representatives of all groups so no one gets an unfair advantage.
Finally returning to the short answer to your question - you have about seventeen nations, twelve guilds, and sixty eight families represented here. Not including any individuals with their own agenda of course. And to make it all worse - one of the few ships you did destroy was the fleet's flag vessel."
"So all of this could have been avoided if we didn't open fire."
"You are asking the wrong person. I am not part of the government, I am only guessing the numbers. My family in particular doesn't care about humans one way or another. By talking to you, my stance is a bit more obvious."