Challenge #00890-B159: Absolute Power...

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est - Knowledge itself is power

Knowledge is power. The knowledge of physics allows many species access to space travel.

Power corrupts. Those with the power to conquer worlds will do so.

Those with the knowledge of how to fight back… sometimes fail to apply it. They have better ways.

“This system is now ours,” boomed the bird before them. “You will serve us in all things you do.”

“As you will,” said the Chief Librarian. She wore a simple, tweed robe and a cotton wimple. “Do you wish to read, view, or experience?”

And at that point, Ju’riix the Conquerer verbally signed his own death warrant. “I wish to burn that which is heretical to the teachings of Bo’bobo'bo!“

“That,” said Chief Librarian Volx, in the same quiet and level tones, “is forbidden.”

“HA! You are weak and puny squishy things! You are soft! You have no power over me!”

“On the contrary. You came into this system with what looks to be a plasma propulsion drive. Those are rather vulnerable  to EMP attacks. We’ve had one of the more sophisticated EMP cannons aimed at your vessels since you passed the asteroid belt. Surrender your outrageous notion or suffer the consequences.”

“You have not the power!“

“On this planet, no. But a station in the belt has had a lock on you for hours.” She tapped idly at a display. A flash of light carried through the large windows. “That was one of your minor attack vessels. Do you want us to aim at your flagship?”

“Lies! Trickery!”

Volx sighed and brought up a screen. On it, showed multiple views of the explosion. And the rest of Ju’riix the Conquerer’s fleet. “You have underestimated the balance of power in this encounter. Please don’t embarrass yourself further.“

Ju’riix the Conqueror seized the Chief Librarian in what he thought was a threatening grip. Volx did not resist.

“All I have to do is snap your wing-bones,” snarled Ju’riix, despite clear evidence that Volx did not have wings. “Your people will be without a leader!”

“All I have to do is nod,” murmured Volx, and did so.

Flashes of light in the sky soon paired with explosions on the screen, and it became very hard for Ju’riix the Conquerer to breathe… Light dimmed… The power in his muscles faded.

The next thing he knew, he was in a comfortable environment with three solid walls and one clear one.

There was food. There were ablution facilities adapted for his body. There were comfortable furnishings and a console through which he could access information.

There was also a bracelet around each wrist and ankle.

And the Chief Librarian on the other side of the clear wall.

And no visible means of egress.

“You are now being studied for the education of others,” murmured Volx. “You will be provided food, comfort, cleanliness, clothing, and company until the end of your days. Please don’t try to escape. It will only result in further embarrassment.”

His immediate response was to try and destroy his environment from the inside.

Volx sighed and shook her head. Invading captains never made good subjects. At least, not during the initial Standard Year.

The Acolyte Glin’yss was busy taking notes. “This is an excellent display of the use of power. May I ask a question, ma’am?”

“Questions are always welcome, though answers may not exist.”

“Um. They say knowledge is power,” she began. “And power corrupts. Are we not being corrupt in our use of knowledge?”

“We are sworn to share knowledge with those who seek it in peace. Those who wish to destroy knowledge are our enemy. You may rest assured, Acolyte Glin’yss, that while absolute power corrupts absolutely… there is no such thing as absolute knowledge.”

“That’s…. not an answer…”

“Corruption disadvantages the powerless by making them more so. We only render those powerless who would threaten us and our vows.” Volx watched Ju’riix discover that there was nothing solid that he could bash his walls with. “We seek knowledge to share knowledge. We ask, and we never take. We give without demand. I do not believe that we are corrupt. And I am willing to learn otherwise and amend my behaviour accordingly. This… individual,” she waved at the cell that contained Ju’riix, “mistook calm control for weakness. He thought he could obliterate that which stood against his beliefs. And it is your job, Acolyte, to find out why they were that important in the first place. For our records.”

“For the records,” Glin’yss bobbed and took her station.

It was a learning opportunity. For very obvious reasons, it was incredibly rare that anyone would ever attack the Archivaas.

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