"Opiate of the Masses"

  • [feedquote='Star Trek Online','/en/games/star-trek-online/news/detail/10887894-%22opiate-of-the-masses%22'] When the cheers erupted, not every cup in the hall was raised. Just as she did after every performance, Juvat basked in the dissent as much as the admiration as she tossed back her bloodwine and dipped her cup into the vat for a second round. Klingon warriors may seek glory with their bat’leths, but a Loresinger wielded a much more powerful weapon: The crowd. Juvat was among the youngest and brashest of Qo’noS’ Loresingers, and that afforded her a certain amount of notoriety. Rather than spend her time preaching to the converted in the streets of the First City, she sought out taverns and bars and drinking halls, places where the crowd was likely unfriendly, if not downright hostile. She saw her role as one of changing minds, spreading truth, and maybe, on a good night, getting into a couple of fights. She knew it was a great performance when blood flowed as freely as bloodwine. She knew that her people needed the shot of adrenaline and the comfort of violent release. The return of the Hur’q had shaken the Klingon culture as a whole in a way that no other threat—not the Federation, not the Iconians, not the Dominion—had in centuries. Generations of Klingons were having their childhood monsters confirmed as real, and many looked to their Loresingers to carefully bottle the Hur’q back into safe containers of myth. This was not Juvat’s intent. By the teachings of Kahless, by the words of the returned hero of Qo’noS, her people must be strong, and fierce, and ready to destroy their ancient enemies. Her words summoned the pride of the Klingon race, the courage and power of Kahless, and honed it into a tool to carve each listener into a ferocious defender of the blood. For the most part, it worked, but there were always challenges to her convictions. Good, thought Juvat, turning her gaze toward a table of sceptics who didn’t seem to appreciate her performance. She stared them down for a moment, then drained her bloodwine and stalked to their table, her cup held like a weapon at her side. “Did you not enjoy the show?” she asked, thumping her cup on the table and looming over its inhabitants like an increasingly furious gargoyle. She made eye contact with each man at the table in turn, and each diverted his eyes right away. All but one. She grinned. “Which of the sciences do you study? For you are not warriors.” The one man who refused to look away leaned forward. “Do not trouble yourself, Lie-singer,” he growled. “When we come to a place like this, we expect to encounter a yIntagh like you, spouting lies and absorbing attention.” Juvat stood tall, raising a brow at the man. “I am Juvat, daughter of Kurn, of the House of Mogh. So your friends will know the name of your killer.” The man snarled. “Do not draw me into your delusions of power, petaQ. It is bad enough that you have these fools supping on your ignorance.” He stood up, an unexpected motion that caught Juvat off guard. Those at his table glanced among themselves and then sat back in their chairs. This had happened before. “Friends,” called the man, arms spread wide. “I am Kalol, son of Mekt. As a historian and astrobiologist, I have studied the so-called ‘Rebirth of Kahless,’ and I tell you that to place your faith in the words of this witch is to rub yourselves with the spoor of a drunken targ.” Juvat growled and approached Kalol. “You spit in the face of history, scientist.” She swept her eyes over the increasingly silent crowd before regarding them all as an advocate in court. “I assume you will speak of Kahless’ return, accuse him of not being what he seemed?” Kalol touched his chin and chuckled to himself. “It should be common knowledge that the returned Kahless was but a clone, to manipulate the masses into a mythology-fueled fervor that would stoke violence and trample independent thought. And now, you speak of the Hur’q, the very enemies Kahless of old was said to have vanquished. And now they, too, have returned?” The scholar stepped in to place his face mere inches from Juvat’s, a classic call to conflict among the older Klingon generations. “Have you run low on stories, Lie-singer, that you dust off the old favorites and present them as new?” The crowd gasped, and then threw themselves into uproarious laughter. Juvat’s fist clenched, her hand feeling for the grip of her d’k tagh. One quick motion, and the argument would be over. He was no warrior; it would be so easy. But Juvat was a Loresinger. She had a much more final way to destroy him. “Yes. They say that the resurrected Kahless was a clone,” Juvat said. “That very well could be. Consider, though, that our greatest warriors stride into battle aboard starships with warp engines and deflector shields, wielding torpedoes and disruptors. The presence of science does not invalidate the glory of battle.” Kalol lifted a brow, and the crowd became quiet once more. Juvat continued. “What is a clone, but a resurrection born of science? Was it not, in every way that matters, Kahless that exited your alleged cloning laboratory? His genes would be Kahless, his body would be Kahless… his courage, Kahless.” Kalol folded his arms. Good, thought Juvat. I have him on the defensive. “Who cloned Kahless, then,” Kalol asked. “For what purpose? If Kahless did not burst forth from the collective faith of his people,” he mocked, “then what would be gained from, well, creating him anew?” There was a moment of silence, and Kalol took the opportunity to attack. “You, and all those spreading the word of this cloned imposter, and of the returned Hur’q straight from the stories of a child, are simply doing the bidding of those who want to keep us fighting, to keep us bleeding, for their causes. You speak of history in the terms of faith. There is enough glory in our true history that you need not create fables to fabricate more.” Juvat glanced about the room and could see she had lost the crowd. She was quiet a moment, and then snarled. “You believe Kahless, the savior of our people, to be a myth?” The room fell silent. Kalol inhaled deeply, but exhaled without words. “Because if you do, then you do not believe in Klingon culture. You feel our history is a lie, that our forefathers were fools. That the billions of us who have travelled on the barge to Sto’Vo’Kor did so for no reason other than their dedication to children’s tales. You spit upon all that we are, and all that we have become: The concrete evidence that one of the galaxy’s great civilizations was born among these so-called ‘myths.’” The crowd erupted in curses and slurs, all directed at Kalol. The scientist glanced around the room, but he found no quarter in the bloodshot eyes of the people. He nodded back toward his table, but the men who came with him seemed unwilling to so much as look in his direction. He regarded Juvat with a snarl, but he stalked directly toward the exit. The door slammed heavily behind him, leaving Juvat in control of the room. She walked back to the bar and dunked her cup once more, only to have four more full mugs of bloodwine shoved in her face as she sat. She smiled and drained the proffered drinks, basking in her victory. Warriors fought with bat’leths, and scientists did battle with facts, but a Loresinger wielded a much more powerful weapon, indeed. Jay Turner Staff Writer Cryptic Studios .share-footer a { margin: 20px 10px 10px 0; background: url(http://images-cdn.perfectworld…157ae31ec5b1466398539.png) no-repeat 0 0; opacity: .5; display: inline-block; height: 60px; width: 60px; padding: 0; border: 1px solid transparent; -webkit-transition: opacity .3s; transition: opacity .3s; } .share-footer .TI { background-position: 0 20%; } .share-footer .YT { background-position: 0 40%; } .share-footer .YT { background-position: 0 40%; } .share-footer .TW { background-position: 0 60%; } .share-footer .FO { background-position: 0 80%; } .FB:hover { background-position: 100% 0%; } .TI:hover { background-position: 100% 20%; } .YT:hover { background-position: 100% 40%; } .TW:hover { background-position: 100% 60%; } .FO:hover { background-position: 100% 80%; } .share-footer a:hover { opacity: 1; -webkit-transition: opacity .3s; transition: opacity .3s; } $(document).ready( function() { $('.show-lightbox').click(function() { var $el = $(this); var link = $el.data().lightbox; $.colorbox({href: link, maxWidth: '90%', maxHeight: '90%', scalePhotos: true}); }); }); .headerimage { border: 2px inset rgba(255, 255, 255, .05); border-radius: 2em; box-shadow: 5px 5px 2px rgba(0, 0, 0, .3); -webkit-transition: all 500ms ease; -moz-transition: all 500ms ease; -ms-transition: all 500ms ease; -o-transition: all 500ms ease; transition: all 500ms ease; } [/feedquote]