Canopus Station
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Bird Brained Schemes

Posted on Tue Mar 3rd, 2020 @ 7:06pm by The Narrator

Mission: S2:1: Into The Drowning Deeps
Location: Canopus Station, Brig
Timeline: MD4 12.00

What the records showed was that Canopus Station had three Reka. Records also showed they belonged to an itinerate group of Reka who sold their skills as warriors and guards to the highest bidder, called the Ikarian Illuminat. Their point of origin was unknown, and Gastarox had been less than caring about that sort of thing in his debriefing.

What the records originally showed was there had been 8 Reka captured with Gastarox. Four had been wounded, and in the frenzy that followed another had been wounded and subsequently dealt with in the Reka fashion before Security could get involved.

Now there was only two, and just in case one of them got peckish they were kept in separate cells at opposite ends of the brig complex.

The one Jinn was lead to was considered the elder of the pair, and it sat on its bunk hunkered down on its haunches. Head lowered, long arms dangling down to allow claw-tipped fingers to scrap on the decking of its cell, it looked like a bird asleep on a branch. Humanoid in appearance, with four eyes, lined up in two rows along a sharp pointed beak, ragged feathers crested around the neck and crown turning to tufty down across the rest of the body. This one was dressed in a replicator paper brig jumpsuit, with little tears here and there from the Reka's abortive preening or aesthetic tastes. The Reka was snoring, or just breathing it was hard to tell.

The Brig Officer stopped by the cell and looked back at Jinn.

"Do you want me to stay nearby Sir?" he asked, a hand resting on the pistol grip of his phaser.

"In all honesty, you may not have a high enough clearance to even be allowed to stay if I wanted you to," Jinn replied. He then gave the officer a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, I plan on staying on this side of the shiney protective barrier."

"Smart move Sir," the officer smiled. "The computers keyed to alert me if there's a loud utterance from this side."

When the officer left, Jinn turned to face the Reka. It was a curious looking creature, but then again, he'd seen stranger. As he studied the creature, he also reached out with his mind, lightly probing at the avian creature, not quite making contact, but just enough to get a sense of the mind sitting in the cell.

Hello there, he sent out telepathically.

"Hello there."

It sounded like words spoken, in fact it sounded just like the voice was coming just behind Jinn left shoulder. The old Reka in the cell looked up, its four eyes blinking slowly out of sync as it focused on him. It then tilted its head 90 degree's to the right, its beak making an odd little snapping sound.

"You do not think as loudly as the others," Jinn's borrowed voice said, now on the right side. "That makes it easier to understand you."

Jinn looked to the left and then the right as the voice sounded, though more in curiosity than surprise. Betazoids were not the only telepathic race he'd ever interacted with and all of them seemed to manifest the ability in a different way. He had come into the situation without expectations.

On my world, we're taught from a young age to quiet our minds, he communicated. Much like your own, I imagine. Otherwise, everyone would be overwhelmed by the noise.

Now all four of those eyes were open, focused on Jinn.

"That is how your kind perceives the song. You are all to a one singing without harmony, without concordance or melody. All loud sound, all braying for attention like fledgelings from a broken egg," the Reka's borrowed Jinn voice switched halfway through to mimic that of the Brig Officer. "The Reka are harmonious, we move in patterns of composition with one another. We are a flock of billions, whereas yours is a flock of one."

The Reka let out a little chuffing sound, and its eyes drew back down to where it had been staring.

"Leave me be," it said in Jinn's voice. Only this time there was an odd growl, not to the words but an actual physical sound trilled out of the avian. His brain, his mind, perceived the Reka's words as audible speech. Only an actual spoken phrase put a lie to it, as the competing auditory nerve signals crossed paths. "Leave me be or kill me, but this confinement demeans us both."

Jinn shrugged. Several things wrong with your statement.

He held up a finger. First, your confinement only demeans you. I'm quite alright, to be perfectly honest.

Another finger rose. Second, individuality does not preclude harmony. In fact, our individualities are what makes us stronger as a group, the Federation, that is. Otherwise, we'd be mindless automata.

A third finger. And finally, I'm going to call bullshit on your claim. We already know the Reka are fractured into many flocks. There's no more unity there than in any other race.

He lowered his hand and gave the creature a warm smile. So if you're quite done posturing, I'd like to get down to my reason for being here, lest you continue to waste my time. That demeans us both.

"So you have met other Reka," Jinn's borrowed voice chuckled behind him. "I thought I heard a scratch of song, not that of my home but familiar nonetheless. You want to know more about us, and so their Question Asker is sent. I do not see the point to it. A Reka is not one for diplomacy. That is a tool of the Myriad. And you are not a Myriad."

Personally, I haven't met any others of your kind, Jinn shrugged again. I've read reports from several of my colleagues though. You're a fascinating species. And to be fair, is diplomacy not preferable to conflict sometimes?

He stepped forward to be right in front of the forcefield, and waved a hand. Take your current situation. Conflict doesn't offer you any potential positive outcome. Diplomacy? Who knows. Maybe one day you'll see your flock again.

"I choose not to see them. To travel far from them, in the company of aliens to serve at their bidding so my kind might live. Conflict is the life we are given by the Myriad, to serve at their leisure for the hubris of the Song Stealer of old..." Jinn's borrowed voice sighed a markedly authentic gesture that tickled the back of his neck psychosomatically. "We need the Myriad's grace to breed. Their sufferance is the only thing that keeps us in line to them, to serve as their mercenaries and raiders. I am old by our standards and have seen what comes of going against their wishes. So I will not answer your question, its price would be too high."

My people, the Federation, have a history of taking on threats like the Myriad and freeing oppressed peoples, Jinn replied. We can help you. It's kind of what we do.

"We tried to help ourselves once. Now we are leashed to the medicines of the Myriad, and their cruel whimsy. There are no Reka alive now who know of any other life but service and scraps from their table," the Reka's feathered ruff was raised, puffing up. "You will not find many who believe the words of the untested."

We're untested against the Myriad, but we've faced existential threats before.

As best he could, Jinn began projecting images of the Borg, the Dominion, trying to convey their threat as best he could.

I have no tactical questions, nothing of the Myriad's capabilities to ask of. I simply want to know about your people, the Reka.

"We live at the behest of the Myriad. We guard them, we patrol their space, and raid on their competitors. Stories of before our time under the Reka are few, and ill-advised to speak of or even retain," the Reka sounded tired. "We once had a world, it was ours as a single flock. Then the Myriad came, offering us bounties and treasures if we never reached out for the stars. And for a time that was enough. And then came the Song Stealer, who whispered sedition and betrayal into the flock. A thousand starships, a flock to darken the skies of our home, and race out into the night to never be stopped by the will of others. To fly freely."

The Reka's ruff deflated.

"Our world was shattered in reprisal. Broken apart by a Myriad weapon called a Swallower. The few remaining were rounded up, inflicted to Myriad medicine that renders us nearly sterile. Enough of us are born to keep the lines going, but only with the aid of Myriad science," the Reka stood now and walked up to the forcefield. "You want to know about the Reka? We are angry. We are frustrated. We are without a home. And we are not afraid to die so that our others will live."

I can understand and respect that anger. During the Dominion War, a conflict that spanned most of our known galaxy, my world was overrun. My people only freed ourselves through a brutal use of our telepathy that killed many of our kind. I understand the notion of paying a terrible price for freedom, Jinn's smile faded. Use that anger. It's healthy. It focuses you. We've already had cooperative overtures with one of your Dens. Why not make that a spark of resistance? Our scientists can work on the breeding issue.

"Because what is done by one, is repaid to the flock Ten Fold," The Reka said in an acidic tone. "You do not broach a new topic. Other Den's have tried to escape the collar of the Myriad, and they still exist to this day. But what one Den does against the Myriad, is repaid to another Den. This Reka who seeks your aid is a mad one of the Seven Dancing Shadows Den, they are all sickened by their Matriarchs grief. Following them will only make an enemy of all Reka for you."

Jinn decided to seize on that tidbit of information, rather than continue to press the Reka about rising up, for now. Why are the Seven Dancing Shadows ostracized? What is this grief you refer to? Seems serious, for your entire race to consider helping them to be so polarizing.

"The Myriad withhold their medicine, allowing our young to die horrible deaths. Entire generations wiped out, out of spite. All because of the actions of another Den. We Reka fight among our selves to keep our peace, but the Seven Dancing Shadows are homeless vagabonds filled with liars and traitors. No one knows what drives them this, but it can only be a madness deep in the bones of their Matriarchs. Why else would they willing let so many fledgelings die?" The Reka asked.

Jinn shrugged. Perhaps their honour drives them to die on their feet rather than lives on their knees? He looked the Reka right in the eye. You speak of dying so that others may live, but your freedom seems to be worth nothing to you. You'd rather consign your future generations to a life time of meek servitude. Perhaps I was wrong to try and seek your aid. It seems like the Seven Dancing Shadows are the only Den who aren't utterly contemptible cowards.

"It is better to live as a slave than to stand with your head held high as another takes it from your neck," it looked down at Jinn, easily a half meter taller than he was. "You speak from a lack of experience, like a fledgeling you know all there is to know. The Sphere will teach you the error of your ways soon enough. If you seek an alliance with the Seven Dancing Shadows, you will make an enemy of all Reka. And we will darken the skies of your world with our number in reprisal."

My world was conquered and my people experimented on and enslaved, Jinn replied, not allowing the Reka's height to intimidate him. So spare me the lecture, we have more in common than you think.

He shook his head and laughed. All of those eyes and yet you can't see the opportunity being presented to you. If you're happy living as a slave, if you truly want nothing more for your younger generations than to simply survive in servitude, then I suppose there is no hope for you. We're probably your best hope for an independent future. But instead, you're a good little pet to your masters.

He turned and started toward the brig exit, but stopped, looking back over his shoulder and grinning. Oh, and you may not realize it, but you've actually been of great help to me today. I'll be sure to log it into our records. I just hope the Myriad has no way of ever accessing those, seeing proof of your collaboration and all that.

Now his ears heard something. A guttural cawing cry, and the discharge of the force field as the Reka's furious fists fell upon it. The Brig Officer, who was now standing to one side of his control console, looking back at the end of the brig where the Reka was wailing.

"Fifteen minutes of silence, and it just goes nuts..." he said, and looked at Jinn. "You give it the stink eye or something?"

Jinn shrugged. "The poor guy just seems really upset at the Myriad over what they've done to his race. It may not seem like it, but he's actually been super helpful. I may touch base with him again in a few days and who knows? Maybe he'll be even more amenable. I'd give him a wide berth for now though."

With that, he gave the officer a smile, a pat on the shoulder and walked by him out the door.


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