I am trying to find a scifi short story I read as a kid, can't remember the name of story/author.
Humanity has contact with these kindly ( dragon headed? ) like aliens who give us space travel and all these other wonderful technologies. At one point some are being held captive by the humans - to extort additional knowledge or something.
It becomes critical for the aliens to escape - and they inexplicably kill one of their own - shortly after they are rescued.
The humans figure out that it was through reincarnation or some kind of rebirth, that the dead one was able to warn the others. There is a verbal confrontation, and one of the human asks:
"Why! Why would you keep this knowledge from us! You've given us so much, why wouldn't you tell us that we don't have just one shot through life? That we are reborn? That we have souls!"
And the Alien replies: "Because you don't".
Someone posted this pic on my FB feed, and it reminded me of that story.
Some random things I remember that may, or may not, be true:
-maybe Niven or Pournelle -think it was a "hard science" writer -read it in the mid 80s. -Can't remember if it was in collection of short stories, or in OMNI
Any insight appreciated!