So humanity once had super technology and was in service to another race they saw as gods, who for some reason cast down humans back to a stone age? :)The very short answer: "Yes."
The slightly longer answer: About the time of the Toba eruption, some humans were transplanted from Earth onto seed colonies, uplifted, and sent off to fight a desperate proxy war against an implacably xenophobic race. They were one set of proxies among many. The strategy of using proxies works, allowing the uplifters to get the upper hand over the xenophobes ... but they end up wiping out the xenophobes in the process. So, regretting the outcome of the war, the uplifters decide that the best way to atone would be to restore the galaxy to a more 'natural' state ... which meant getting rid of all the upliftees, whose civilizations were all created with the express purpose of waging war. For reasons I won't go into here, they lost the location of Earth. So, keen to avoid another xenocide, they instead resort to sending the uplifted humans "back to a stone age."
And here seems like a good point to pick up the next part of the story:
The dim light of dancing flames flickered off the rough-hewn basalt. Taggart, and a number of the Imperial scientists, were seated on benches that ringed the small amphitheatre. At the very back of the stage, he saw Doctor Guillarmod, dressed in dark blue robes. He held a bell in one hand, and a stick in the other.Pong!
The note reverberated in the enclosed space. From doorways cut into either side of the stage, men began to emerge. On the left, they bore hideous costumes of animal hides, bones, and teeth. On the right, men were dressed in identical dark robes, marching onto the stage with military precision. They carried torches in their left hands. Their right hands rested on the pommels of long curved wooden sticks.Pong!
The processions stopped, the men on either side standing still, facing each other with grim expressions. Doctor Guillarmod cleared his throat, looking across the stage toward Taggart and his men.
"Captain Taggart, and esteemed members of the Imperial Archaeological Society, what you are about to witness is an incredibly ancient Korridani tradition; the telling of the Surahs
. These are the verbal legends of the ancestors, a legacy passed down to us over the course of tens of thousands of years. The languages of the telling have changed, but as each passing generation reflected upon the ruins of our mighty ancestors, the message of the telling has remained the same. The other capitals have their own unique ways of remembering the ancestors. We have simply chosen the one closest to many of our own hearts."
Doctor Guillarmod cleared his throat, staring out at his audience. He closed his eyes, lifting his bell once more.Pong!
"This is the Surah of War. Foremost of the Surahs.
Reflect well upon its message, and heed the words of the hallowed ancestors."
Silently, the men began marching toward the center of the stage, each robed man pairing off with a monster, and each pair following the next in a silent procession.Pong!
"In the days of legend, men were with the gods in the heavens above."Clack!
The robed men shook their torches.
"Men and gods, together, walked the great river of stars."Clack!
With each shake, a multitude of glowing embers emanated from the torches, drifting lazily to the floor.
"United in a violent time, for men had heeded the call of the gods, to war."
As the procession reached the right side of the stage, figures wrapped head-to-toe in white linen bandages emerged. They were swaddled in translucent tissue paper that made each one look like a ghostly octopus. They carried more curved wooden sticks, advancing on the precession in silence.Pong!
"Men went upon the great river of stars in boats of shining metal, wielding lances of fire."
A great cry went up from the stage. Taggart's breath caught in his throat as the robed men drew their curved wooden sticks as one, charging at the ghostly white figures.Crack! Crack! Crack!
The sharp sound of wood meeting wood rung in Taggart's ears, as robes and tentacles flew and whirled. Fwoosh!
One of the pale white octopi was suddenly engulfed in flames.Crack!
His wooden stick ... more of a sword ... was stripped from his hand. There was a sharp, wet sound as another wood sword impacted him square in the gut and he doubled over.
Taggart was already starting to lunge to his feet, when a sharp, silent, gesture from Doctor Guillarmod stopped him. The paper tentacles burned swiftly, leaving the prone figure wreathed in black. Fwoosh! Foom!
Several other white figures exploded into human torches. One drove the point of his sword directly into the groin of one of the robed men, while his compatriots hit him mercilessly over the head and shoulders. Taggart gripped the edge of his bench in growing horror, as the fight played out, and more men were knocked to the unyielding stone floors. In the background, the "gods" watched ... impassive and silent.Pong!
The few white-bandaged figures still standing turned away from the remaining robed men, fleeing swiftly for the exit on the left.
"The great river of stars was red with the blood of men, but redder still with the blood of the eternal foe. But, what reward did the gods have planned for their noble warriors?"
The "gods" advanced toward the robed men, drawing their own wooden swords. The robed men stood, still as statues.Pong!
"The gods betrayed men, and cast them down from the heavens!"Crack!
The stage exploded in showers of embers as the "gods" knocked the torches from the hands of the robed men. Several of the Imperial scientists cried out as the shattered torches landed among them. Taggart winced, throwing himself to the side as a torch landed next to him, showering him in hot ashes.Thud!Thump!
Long, curved, wooden swords rose and fell, and the explosive sound of hard objects impacting padded flesh was the only sound to be heard. The robed men didn't cry out, even as they were beaten down by the "gods."Pong!
"They cut them down in their multitudes, and the men were made powerless to resist."
Wooden swords were stomped out of clutched hands, and kicked away. The "gods" then lined up on the right side of the stage, sheathing their swords.Pong!
"And in the end, men were left with nothing but bitter ashes."
Doctor Guillarmod solemnly rang the bell once more, and the robed men crawled toward the left exit. Some in visible pain. Some didn't move at all, their robes darkened with blood.
"Heed well, the words of the hallowed ancestors," he said, setting down his bell, and bowing deeply.
"Doctor Guillarmod!" Captain Taggart exclaimed, leaping from his seat.
Taggart looked around, the other Imperials seemed just as stunned as he was. He looked back toward the still men remaining on the stage, his heart racing.
"If you're wondering about the men on stage, they've all availed themselves of the best techniques of modern medicine. They'll be up and about before long. Nobody was ... seriously harmed."
"I ... never thought I'd be allowed the privilege of witnessing a genuine Korridani telling of the Surahs," a voice behind Taggart said, with a mixture of lingering shock and something else.
"Indeed, Professor Van Hoeck. Believe me, I feel most privileged in narrating them, so far from home."
Taggart's mind reeled. "You mean, this
is how you pass down stories of your ancestors?"
"That is correct, Captain Taggart," Doctor Guillarmod replied. "This way, nobody ever becomes tempted to forget. Certainly, your reaction mirrors that of nearly every Earthborn that has come before you. Let me tell you all something. In the centuries prior to the arrival of the Earthborn, there were times when the Surah of War was told with live steel in grand forums. Condemned men would take part, to restore their honor, and seek redemption in death where none awaited them in life."
Taggart took several deep breaths."Are you all right,"
a woman's voice said in his ear. It seemed tinny and distorted, but Taggart felt himself start to relax. Akemi was over the horizon at last."I ... I'll be fine,"
he replied. "I think I've just witnessed something right out of the prehistoric dark ages."
"Are you all right, Captain Taggart," Doctor Guillarmod said, eyeing him.
"I ... I'm just shocked, that's all," he replied. He heard faint static in his ear. Akemi was listening, and he found it comforting. "I'm sorry, it's just a bit much to take in at once."
"That's good to know," Doctor Guillarmod replied, his expression unreadable. "It will prepare you for tomorrow morning."
"That's, pretty much, what happened to me today," Taggart said. He was seated in a featureless gray room, across a featureless steel table, from a curvy woman with close-cut brown hair. Her thick-framed glasses glinted a faint green as she looked at him with thoughtful brown eyes.
"I don't know what to tell you," Akemi replied, waving her hands helplessly. "I knew about the Korridani Surahs, and how they're passed down, but I didn't think the Kingdom's scientists would perform one for you. If I did, I would've warned you." She closed her eyes. "I'm sorry."
Taggart lightly touched Akemi's hands. "It's okay," he replied. "I'm just glad you turned up when you did. It's not every day you witness something like that."
Akemi placed a hand atop Taggart's. "You could come back. You've escorted the scientists to the planet. I've got the relay constellation deployed now, so it will be easier to keep track of what's going on from here."
Taggart smiled. "I think I can survive one more day down here. I was just shaken by what I saw, that's all."
"Are you sure you'll be okay?"
Taggart nodded. "Yeah, I'm sure of it. I don't think it'd be 'diplomatic' of me to leave just yet anyway. Doctor Guillarmod wants me to tour the main excavation site with him in the morning. After this evening, I don't think it can get any more shocking down here."
Akemi's replying smile was tiny and uncertain. "If you say so," she said. "I still think you should come back up here as soon as possible. I don't feel any better about this planet, and this assignment, than I did before."
Taggart looked down at their hands, and then up into Akemi's eyes. "Me neither ... but ... one more day, and I think I'll have done my duty to Starfleet and the Empire."
Akemi nodded. "Please, stay safe, Sean. I ... I would miss our conversations, if something happened to you."
"Always, Akemi," Taggart replied.