The title here is completely off the cuff, but I'm going to put down an idea I have had brewing in the back of my mind and see where it goes.
The sound reverberated across the vast but empty room. Silence was one of the few amenities Thiron enjoyed. The corner of his mouth twitched at the disruption, but he pretended to ignore Keros hovering nearby. "How much longer before you achieve sentience, Thiron?" Shaking his head, Thiron concentrated on the mottled sphere in front of him. Things were progressing nicely, though the timeline was a bit tight. He had to find a way to stimulate growth again without disrupting the entire ecosystem. Or maybe he just needed to start over. He decided to give it a bit longer.
Thiron spun around, trying not to let his aggravation show. Keros was a Publicant, completely at odds with research and study. But he was important, particularly if Thiron wanted authorization to continue his project. Sentience was the only useful aspect, and if he couldn't achieve that, the entire thing would be scrubbed. "Timelines are hard to judge", he answered. "The line is developing at an expected rate, but there are too many variables involved to give you an accurate estimate." Keros' frown was disconcerting, as was his need to be constantly managed. Too many interruptions meant less time spent easing things along. He slipped a hand into his pocket, trying to look nonchalant despite his irritation. "How are the climate changes going?" Keros asked, leaning to the side to peer over Thiron's shoulder. He sighed with resignation. Might as well show him or he'd never leave.
Thiron gestured slightly and lights dimmed. "See for yourself", he said as he brought the image back into focus. Two thirds of the mottled sphere were blindingly pristine, a white cap that covered both ends. The band in the middle however, was a vibrant mixture of greens and blues. "Here you can see the landscape left behind as the ice recedes. The process is necessarily methodical and slow however, since it's a fairly fragile species." Keros nodded, his hand reaching out to glide above the upper quadrant. Thankfully, he did not attempt any manipulation. "I expect a full report in two cycles, Thiron", Keros said imperiously. "This project is consuming a great deal of my time". Without another word, he turned and walked out, his blue robe billowing like a parachute. Another sigh escaped Thiron, and he turned back to examine the image once more. He gestured with one hand, concentrating carefully. The landscape changed gradually, pearly white giving way to deep sapphires and darkened emeralds. His last attempts at sentience had failed, but this latest creation was unique. It exhibited actions that went beyond instinctual survival. Thiron even thought he heard organized vocalizations, but that was hoping for too much. He needed proof, some indication that progess was being made. Just as he was about ready to leave, something caught his eye. Was it possible? He homed in, increasing the resolution to maximum. He wasn't imagining things. The creatures were hunting in packs. Even more important however, was what they held in their hands. Without another thought, Thiron backed out and began to document furiously. The impact was astounding, but he had to be calm, had to be thorough. It was quite some time before he stood upright once more, his head dizzy with success.