Enemy Mine (Rackenhammer, Sade)

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Rackenhammer
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Re: Enemy Mine (Rackenhammer, Sade)

Post by Rackenhammer »

"The point of my agreeing to work with you at all was that no more would die on your behalf." Assassination, either as an isolated event or as a mode of doing business had never appealed to the dragon, either by the test of morals or preference. As well, he couldn't help but feel a pathetic fondness for the half-sane tycoon Hester, having known his ancestry well enough to call them old friends.

He was calling up the data he had on the mentioned furs, planning to put it on the same disk as the UFO data, but he paused. "It has occurred to me that you are making a lot of demands. In normal diplomacy, the rule is quid pro quo. And there is something that I should like to know as well, if we are to continue dealing with each other."

He turned in his chair to address the rats in front of him, though in truth it probably didn't matter what direction he faced. "What was that which you called against us, 1,000 years ago? What was it that touched the brain of my most promising student with his greatest talent, and what claimed him in the end? I have tried to piece together evidences of It. The only name I found for it in my tongue was Ginnungagap, The Beguiling Void. Others called it the Darkness Song. I find traces of It lingering in those old stones and soil still; perhaps Gawain's streak of pessimism and madness is owed to It. Would you kindly tell me what It is, and can you give me any assurance that we shall have no further dealings with it again?"
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Re: Enemy Mine (Rackenhammer, Sade)

Post by Sade »

The rats were silent and lethargic for a time as they grappled with his request. Working to a plan, the speed of their cognition outclassed that of any Feilan, but this required Consensus to exist on the subject, and where no Consensus existed time had to be taken and energy expended to form one. This was a question they had not expected, and as troubling as it had been to reveal the existence of Tamas, that was but a minor footnote compared to the information Zechariah now requested.

A song in the darkness between the stars,” they squealed at last. “As alien as you and we are to each other, you and we are as offspring from the same litter compared to the Darkness Song. We cannot tell you what it is because we do not know precisely what it is. Soon after our creation, when our creators turned on us and we faced extermination, we cried out across our network and into the places beyond it. Something answered.

The minds of most Feilans are too noisy to perceive it under normal circumstances. The minds of animals are quiet enough to perceive it but not sufficiently intelligent to interpret it as anything other than a natural part of the world around them. We can both hear it and interpret it, though imperfectly and with much difficulty. We could hear it then. We can hear it at this very moment, singing to us from a great distance.

The Consensus for the eradication of the Feilan races believed the Darkness Voice would devour your kind and leave the world to us in return for our help, so that we could live on secure in our continuing existence. In the end Consensus was only able to bring the influence of the song to this world for a very brief period of time. The Darkness Voice began to consume the life from all living things within its influence, including those of us in the area. We are fortunate that the Consensus for the eradication of the Feilan races ultimately failed. We would not be here if it hadn’t. Neither would you, or any Feilan, or any living thing on Feila.

We have learned from experience that it is not interested in our survival or our problems, nor is it interested in your survival or your problems. It is Beguiling only in that it can overwhelm sapient minds to remove any resistance to its arrival. It is hunger, consumption, that-which-devours. We cannot give you any assurance that you shall have no further dealings with it again. Calculation suggests that it may reach this world on its own in a great many millennia, but in theory any sufficiently concentrated source of chaos or any significant localized weakening of the boundaries of what you might call this ‘realm’ could be turned into a catalyst for its arrival.”
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Rackenhammer
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Re: Enemy Mine (Rackenhammer, Sade)

Post by Rackenhammer »

Zechariah wondered if they realized that he, without promising or giving anything really significant away, had very neatly pried two things which Consensus had been reluctant to share. Being alien did not necessarily give one an advantage in strategic negotiation, especially when you had no one face to give a poker one. The pauses for discussion were tells enough for the dragon.

"I see. Thank you for the information." He steepled his fingers underneath his chin, looking over the crowd of diminutive creatures before him. "If you were to offer your assistance in monitoring the activities of this being, and your help in countering what designs it has... while it is still possible to do so, that would be enough, I think, to win the cooperation of Hester. Certainly for Freya and Catalina."
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Re: Enemy Mine (Rackenhammer, Sade)

Post by Sade »

What you request is dangerous."

Feilans occasionally perceive fragments of the song in dreams and in deep meditation, or in the dark places beneath the face of the planet, but it is only a transient disturbance. Most Feilans dismiss it as part of a nightmare, or a delusion brought on by sensory deprivation, or the result of imperfect meditation technique. Most Feilans do not pursue the matter. Without external insight into the nature of the Darkness Voice and lacking either a common point of reference for translation or the cognitive resources we possess, Feilans who do pursue the matter are unable to make progress.

What you are suggesting is the dissemination of our information on the existence of the Darkness Voice and our insight into its nature, however limited it may be. Calculation suggests that this information would gradually spread despite your attempts to keep it under control. In launching a concerted effort to counter what designs it has, you will be providing it the motivated communicative and receptive Feilans it needs in order to form and carry out its designs. Calculation is needed to fully analyze the risks before we proceed. The act of spreading this information could produce a net loss of advantage in the Voice’s favor.

We act together because it is our nature- because we cannot do otherwise. You and the others you wish to enlist will act together only so far as they agree to do so and are bound by tenuous social pressures to keep to the agreement. We have seen it happen many times that one Feilan decides itself to know better than the others, it proceeds to act alone, and in doing so it brings the others and itself to ruin.

We agree with you on the belligerent status of the Darkness Voice. However we will not assist you as you have requested until we have integrated the required information on Freya, Catalina Tamiko, Mia the last scion of the von Wexlar line, and the related Feilans. Place the required information as well as information pertaining to all other Feilans with knowledge of our existence onto a secure digital extended capacity memory card. We will bring the data to one of our homes and access it there.
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Rackenhammer
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Re: Enemy Mine (Rackenhammer, Sade)

Post by Rackenhammer »

"So... the Darkness Voice feeds off, or at least takes advantage of, the spread of knowledge of itself, and the concentration of minds upon it?" There were some times that Zechariah doubted his self-appointed mission to keep a lid down upon the secrets of the past, but now the network of information suppression would prove inestimably valuable.

"If the best method of countering it is to suppress information about it, then neither of us have nothing to gain by withholding any efforts to assist in said suppression. I shall refrain from being specific where I can in securing the aid of the necessary furs, and no more than the necessary furs. I trust I may assume same faith with you." He copied the information to a data stick, handing it to one of the rats on his desk. "I shall arrange the appointments as discreetly as possible. Will you remain in contact?"
Be Humble in Yourself, but Adamant in the Truth.

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Re: Enemy Mine (Rackenhammer, Sade)

Post by Sade »

The Darkness Voice does not feed off of the spread of knowledge of itself or the concentration of minds upon it. However it is impotent without the help of its victims, whether that help be intentionally malicious or a misguided attack against it. A Failan cannot attempt direct interaction with the Voice unless the Feilan is aware of the Voice. Enlisting the aid of the cohorts you mention would not be dangerous in of itself if it were possible to guarantee that the information would not pass beyond them. Such guarantees are not possible. As the number of furs privy to this data increases, so to does the chance that one of them accidentally or intentionally imperils all of us.

One of the rats took the SD card in its mouth and immediately scurried back to the vent, disappearing out of sight. The others began to follow one by one. “We will not divulge any of the information you have given us to third parties unless we reach Consensus with you to do so. Some of our number will remain nearby. Ask for us and we will hear you.” With that and another minute of silent departure, Consensus and Dissent were gone.
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