Sacred Host

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Re: Sacred Host

Post by LisaCharly » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:20 pm

This is fantastic. I'm very glad that you're writing this and that you're doing so much to detail Yeerk culture. I especially like the idea of Yeerk festivities surrounding physical pleasures, while so many human festivities purport abstinence from these pleasures (for example, Lent or fasting). It's a fascinating dichotomy and one that I'm glad you've explored. I'm excited to see where this goes, too. It's excellent.

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Re: Sacred Host

Post by Qoheleth » Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:23 am

Chapter 20 - Toloth's Bible Study

And thus it came about that, three days after Esiln Kalkat, Teresa was once again sitting in her cage in the Yeerk pool, telling Toloth Two-Nine-Four about Jesus.

There was a difference now, though. For the first time, Teresa began to suspect just how much might hang on these little conversations she was having with Toloth. Hitherto, she had thought of the affair only as an obligation (when someone asked her about her faith, she had to respond as fully and truthfully as she could); now she began to entertain the notion that it might also be a vocation. Maybe, just maybe, her job in life was to bring aliens to Christ: to help the Gospel spread to that "uttermost part of heaven" that Jesus had talked about gathering His elect from. She'd never dreamed of such a thing before – but, with God, all things were possible.

This mental upheaval sprang from a number of causes. Baptizing Gef had been a significant one; the mere realization that she had helped make one Christian alien made it imaginable that she might be called to help make more. Nor had Toloth's comment about someday being baptized himself, glib though she realized it had been, done anything to hinder her growing sense of mission. Ironically, though, the one who had really made the difference was Malcar; the energy her Controller was putting into undermining her – and, in particular, the line about her being God's "self-appointed Messenger to the Stars" that Malcar had let slip during their argument on Thursday – had been the thing that really convinced her that she might have started something important.

But, however it had come about, the awareness was now in her – and it terrified her. How was she – a random girl from California who was no closer to sainthood than nine-tenths of the rest of the people she knew – supposed to evangelize the galaxy? Wasn't there a priest or a trained theologian somewhere in the Yeerk pool who would be better cut out for the job than she was?

Don't be silly, Teresa, she told herself. This is how God works. He chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise – if you can call the Yeerk Empire wise. Just stay close to Him, keep doing what you've been doing, and it'll all work out somehow.

Her courage was revived at this thought, and the next day, when Toloth came to her cage, he found a more serene, self-confident young evangelist than he had yet met. "Hello, Toloth Two-Nine-Four," she said, with an apparently genuine smile. "How's my new brother doing?"

"What?" said Toloth, momentarily baffled. Then he realized she must mean Gef, and made a note that worshippers of Jesus considered each other kindred. "Oh, I see. Thank you, my host is in excellent health. This 'new life' of yours seems to suit him admirably."

"Glad to hear it," said Teresa. "So what do you want to know today?"

Toloth took a deep breath. "Your ethical code," he said. "How is one who believes the things that you believe supposed to order his life?"

Although he didn't say it, Teresa guessed that he was asking this on Gef's behalf. She tactfully didn't say anything about it, however – for which Toloth, who was all too aware how easily Teresa could see through him, was duly grateful. "Well, that's kind of a large topic, you know," she said. "I mean, I'm sure I can give you some kind of summary, but it would be a lot easier if I had a Bible or something to refer back to."

"A Baibul?" Toloth repeated. "You mean like this Baibul?" And he reached over his shoulder and produced the Skrit Na Bible from his carrying dimension.

Teresa jumped. "Where did you get that?" she said.

"From the captain of a Skrit Na freighter," said Toloth, with a certain satisfaction at having for once unsettled Teresa Sickles. "Apparently your little religion has picked up some adherents among the Foraging People."

"Oh," said Teresa. "Well, that's good. Okay, let me see it."

This proved to be easier said than done. The Skrit Na Bible was just too wide to fit through the bars of Teresa's cage, and it took a few seconds' fiddling before it occurred to Toloth to open it in the middle and slide it through top-first. This worked admirably, and in a matter of moments Teresa was holding the Bible in her hands.

She looked down at the page to which Toloth had opened it. Most of it, of course, was completely illegible to her with her rudimentary Galard, but she could sound out the symbols if she concentrated, and she recognized the word at the top of the page as a variation on the verb "to sing". This, combined with the presence of three-digit numbers at the tops of several columns of type, led her to conclude that she was somewhere in the book of Psalms.

That left her with two questions. First, did this Bible put the books in the same order as she was used to? Second, what passage was she looking for, anyway? Where in the Bible did you go when an alien asked you for a summary of Christian ethics? The Ten Commandments? The Sermon on the Mount? 1 Corinthians 13? None of them seemed quite complete, and all of them were fairly long; she didn't know how much time she had, and she wanted something concise.

She thought hard for a minute or two; then a way appeared to her, and she started turning to the end of the book. As it turned out, from what she could translate of the titles, the books were in more or less their traditional order; there were a few whimsical arrangements among the minor prophets (she was fairly certain, for instance, that her Bible at home put Habakkuk before Zechariah), but she still managed to find Galatians without much trouble.

Now the trick was finding the right section. She knew it was somewhere in the last two chapters, but she couldn't remember the exact verse numbers. Fortunately, though, she knew the Galard word for "fruit"; finding this, she traced back (with the help of a few other words, such as "flesh" and "law") to what appeared to be the beginning of the passage, and held it out for Toloth to read. "All right," she said. "Start at the place where the number 16 appears and read it aloud; I'll tell you when to stop. In English, please," she added, realizing just in the nick of time that Toloth might just read the Galard words that were written, which wouldn't do her much good.

Toloth looked down, and squinted at the branching letters. "'I say, then,'" he began slowly, "'Walk in the breath…'"

"The Spirit," Teresa corrected him. "That's the third Person in God, the one that puts Jesus's life in you."

"Your pardon," said Toloth sardonically. "'Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the…'" He paused, and seemed to search for the appropriate English construction. "'The flesh-desire,'" he said at last, and chuckled. "So your religion doesn't approve of desiring flesh, does it? Well, it may do well for Hork-Bajir, then, but I doubt it will ever catch on with Taxxons."

Teresa smiled. "That's not quite what it means," she said. "'Flesh', in this context, means the whole realm of natural impulses: all the ordinary, selfish, Earth-bound wants you were born with. The stuff that came with your flesh, you see."

Toloth cocked his head, and gave her an odd look. "You do like using ordinary words in strange ways, don't you?" he said. "Your realm of perfection is 'Sky', one of the persons of your God is 'the Breath', natural desires are 'flesh'…"

"Well, we have to use the words we've got," said Teresa. "If we went around inventing new words for each of our special ideas, we'd have our own separate language in no time flat. And that's not really good when we're trying to explain things to the rest of you."

"No, I suppose not," Toloth admitted. "Still, it must cause you problems not to use these words in the same way that other people do."

Teresa rolled her eyes. "You can say that again," she said. "You'd be amazed how many people think 'the flesh' in the passage you just read means 'sex'."

"Why should they think that?" Toloth inquired.

"Because that's the way we humans are," said Teresa. "Everything means sex. Never mind, just keep reading; they might come to take me to the pier any minute now."

Toloth saw the justice in this, and lowered his eyes to the page again. "'You will not fulfill the flesh-desire,'" he repeated, "'for the flesh-desire is different from the Br–' excuse me, 'from the Spirit-desire, and the Spirit-desire from the flesh-desire; and these are opposed to each other, so that you cannot do the things that you choose.'" He blinked. "What does that mean?"

"It means that, if you're a Christian, part of you wants to follow God's will, while the other part wants to do what it's always wanted to do," said Teresa. "And you have to let the Spirit direct everything you do, so that the natural part doesn't get the upper hand."

"Oh." Somewhere deep in Toloth's psyche, a small part of him responded to this. Perhaps if the Spirit directed you, it whispered, you would no longer be concerned with whether you lost your Hork-Bajir-Controller status. It was only a minute pinprick, but it left its mark.

"'But if you are led by the Spirit,'" he read on, "'you are not under the law.' That would be the law of nature, I suppose?"

"Um… kind of," said Teresa. "We'll get to that later. Just keep going."

"'Now the flesh-deeds are obvious, and they are these…'" Toloth frowned at the list that followed those words: there were sixteen terms in it, five of which he had never heard before, and three more of which made no sense at all in context.

"Something wrong?" said Teresa.

"Ah… no," said Toloth. "'They are these: puralesku, ubramulku, dirtiness, kali-kalii…'"

"Whoa, whoa, slow down!" said Teresa. "Pura-what?"

Toloth sighed. "I don't know," he confessed. "I thought I was quite fluent in Galard, but I have never heard any of these words before except for the third one."

Teresa considered. "Those are probably the sexual sins," she said. "You wouldn't talk about those much, since they're not really an issue for Yeerks, but the Andalites who invented Galard would naturally have words for them." Another thought struck her, and she nodded. "Yeah, that makes sense, since I remember the first one on the list was adultery…"

"Was what?" said Toloth politely.

Teresa blushed. "Adultery," she said. "That's when a man and a woman promise themselves to each other, and then one of them goes off and has sex with someone else. I don't suppose…"

"Oh!" said Toloth. "Kalashi-kur."

Teresa blinked. "What?"

Toloth grinned. "Kalashi-kur. That is the Hork-Bajir phrase for 'wife-badness'."

"Oh." Teresa had to take a second to digest that. She may not have had the usual noble-savage illusions about the Hork-Bajir, but it still came as something of a shock to learn that they had a word for a mortal sin that was unknown to Yeerks. "Well, yeah, that's what St. Paul's talking about. So, Gef? Don't go committing any wife-badness."

"He thanks you for the advice," said Toloth, although Gef had said no such thing. "Now, let's see; the next flesh-deed would appear to be 'statue-honor', whatever that means…"

"Idolatry, probably," said Teresa. "Worshipping false gods."

"Ah. Then sorcery, hatred, 'variation', 'emulation' – I take it those last two do not mean what I think of as variation and emulation?"

Teresa sighed; the way this was going, maybe 1 Corinthians 13 would have been faster after all. "Variation means quarrelling with other people," she said. "Emulation means wanting to have what they have, or be what they are, instead of being satisfied with what God gives you."

Toloth nodded. "'Anger, strife-causing, sedition, "lies-teaching"'…"


"'Envy, murder, intoxication, revelry, and so on: of which I tell you, as I have told you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.'" The last phrase brought Toloth up short. "Now, what might that mean?" he said.

"What might what mean?" said Teresa.

"The kingdom of God," said Toloth. "I would have thought, from what you have told me of your God, that he was king everywhere and over everything. I don't suppose you mean to assert that God plans to give everything in the universe to those who follow your religion?"

Teresa smiled. "Well, yeah, actually, He will," she said. "If we follow through faithfully until we die, He'll put us as judges over angels and give us the morning star. It's all in here; you can look it up later."

Toloth stared at her. "You really mean that," he said.

"Of course I mean it," said Teresa. "And Gef? That goes for you now, too."

Toloth's mind was awhirl. Did these Jesus-worshippers – these Christians, as Teresa had called them – set no reasonable limits on their beliefs? It was one thing to say, as the Kandronists of his own world did, that one who behaved in a generally upright fashion would be rewarded with peace and contentment in the afterlife – but here was someone who seemed to think that her God had promised her everything she could possibly desire, and, at the same time, expected her to surrender her body itself to others out of sheer compassion.

It was absurd, of course – but, all the same, Toloth couldn't shake a nagging feeling that it was the absurdity of truth. That was, after all, how things worked in the sciences: you proposed a dozen reasonable and erroneous explanations for a phenomenon, and then the correct explanation turned out to be something completely outrageous. This was a disturbing thought; to avoid it, Toloth lowered his eyes to the Bible and continued reading. "'But the Spirit-fruits are…'" he began, and then hesitated as he searched for the appropriate English words; most of the words on this list, though he recognized them, were not words one heard much in the Yeerk pool. "Just a moment; they are…"

"Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, forbearance, gentleness, faith, courtesy, temperance, and purity," said Teresa. "Against such as these, there is no law."

Toloth blinked. "Um… yes, that seems to be about right," he said. "Is that the point I was supposed to reach?"

Teresa nodded. "Yeah, that's it," she said.

Then she caught sight of a pair of Hork-Bajir-Controllers heading toward her cage, and frowned. "And a good thing, too," she said. "Unless I'm much mistaken, Malcar's expecting me right about now."

A cold chill shot through Toloth: if a fellow soldier saw him discussing religion with a host, he was done for. "Give me the Baibul," he said sharply.

Teresa slid it through the bars, and Toloth thrust it back into the carrying dimension and strode briskly away. When he was a safe distance from Teresa's cage, he looked back over his shoulder; the two guards were escorting Teresa to the pier, and neither of them seemed to have noticed anything irregular.

With a sigh of relief, he turned and headed back to the Sub-Visser's Bug fighter, his contentment disturbed only by the unsettling thoughts Teresa had introduced into his mind – and by Gef, who was quietly but diligently repeating, <Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…>

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Re: Sacred Host

Post by Dmandawg1 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:48 pm

This is amazing, your a very good writer! :D

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Re: Sacred Host

Post by Qoheleth » Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:17 am

Chapter 21 - That They May See

At this point, it may be worthwhile to acquaint the reader with the Yeerk pool's basic system of (for lack of a better word) host-herding – the process, that is, by which involuntary hosts are conducted to cages after their Controllers leave them to feed. It is often vaguely assumed, among those who have never been infested, that each host is invariably put in the same cage – which, of course, in a culture dependent on breaking the wills of sentient beings, would be manifest idiocy. To put a host regularly in contact with the same two other hosts would foster precisely that spirit of friendship and mutual support in suffering that the Yeerk Empire worked so hard to extinguish in its human chattel.

The Sulp Niar pool of Earth, therefore, rotated its hosts every feeding cycle, according to a complex algorithm that (factoring in the continual addition of new hosts and the occasional death of old ones) effectively prevented any two given hosts from being caged next to each other twice in the same lifetime. Thus, for instance, the four conversations that Teresa had had with Toloth had each been conducted next to a different host or pair of hosts (except the second, in which Teresa had happened to be sandwiched between two empty cages).

Of course, this system produced a certain hazard of its own. If friendship between hosts became less likely, the odds that some small gesture of defiance on a host's part might inspire a neighboring host to renewed courage became all the greater as hosts were circulated. This, however, was considered by far the lesser of the two evils.

And it must be acknowledged that the system worked fairly well. One might have expected, for instance, that the sight of a Hork-Bajir-Controller coming up to a human host's cage every feeding cycle and engaging her in a lengthy dialogue on the particulars of Christian belief and practice might have attracted some attention from the neighboring hosts, and, if the neighboring hosts had been constant and known to Teresa, it might well have done so. The principle of host rotation, however, ensured that all the hosts who were imprisoned next to her during her discussions with Toloth were perfect strangers, who were generally too far gone in either rage or despair to pay any attention to the abstract philosophy next door.

On the day that Teresa and Toloth had read Galatians 5 together, however, a different sort of host happened to be occupying the cage to Teresa's right. This was Ewart Velsko, a veterinarian and amateur geologist who had been lured into the Sharing by his wife's Controller that April, and infested on the first of July. Like most hosts (including Teresa), he had done his share of screaming uselessly at his captors; after a while, however, he had come to see that there was little point in that, and had decided to make the best use of his few hours of freedom that he could. Thus, he had begun to study the floor and the bars of his cage, and work out the structure and composition of the alien minerals that composed them; by now, about five months later, he had arrived at about as thorough a knowledge of Yeerk chemical technology as a host life-form could reasonably expect to attain.

This was partially due to his remarkable ability to phase out the noise of his fellow involuntaries as they screamed or sobbed around him. It was a skill he had first developed in the operating room (since the alternative was going deaf while his patients barked in his ear), but his pool experiences had honed it to a stunning degree, so that he was now almost physically incapable of hearing anything outside his cage unless it was specially tailored to attract his attention.

It is, perhaps, something less than a credit to male humans everywhere that what thus attracted his attention to the conversation to his left was the three-word sentence, "Everything means sex." Nonetheless, so it was. His ears perked up, and he left his speculations on the lattice structure of inert actinium to focus on Teresa and Toloth – and, as a result, he became the first human to witness the missionary activities of Teresa Sickles.

The specific doctrines he heard made no particular impact on him. He was a regular churchgoer in a vague, United-Methodist way, and the basic ideas of Galatians 5 were too familiar to leave any lasting impression on his mind (although the particular form they took on in Galard translation provided him a certain amount of amusement).

But that was scarcely relevant. The substance of the reading may have been commonplace, but the fact itself – the mere image of a human captive and a Yeerk soldier reading the Bible together – stirred Dr. Velsko's soul in places he hadn't realized it possessed. Even a United Methodist may well be pleased that a slave is communicating the Gospel of mercy to her captors – and impressed, also, by the courage that the slave in question is thereby shown to possess.

That's a brave girl, the good doctor reflected. Crazy, maybe, but definitely brave.

And, a few minutes later: I wonder what her name is.
At about the same time, his Controller, Oglud Eight-Six-Nought, was learning the answer to that question.

*Teresa Sickles?* he pulsed, bewildered. *That name means nothing to me.*

*Oh?* said his hostless compatriot (a member of the Arssis spawn, whose number Oglud hadn't caught). *Well, that's a pity. We had hoped you might be able to tell us something about her.*

*But who is she?* Oglud demanded. He was understandably a bit out of sorts at being addressed during a feeding (didn't these izcots have any sense of propriety?), and being questioned about a mysterious human whose name he seemed to be expected to know only added to his frustration.

*She is the human who gave herself to Oliss Three-Eight-Three,* said Arssis Whatever-It-Was solemnly.

*Oh,* said Oglud, with a dismissive gesture. *A voluntary.*

*No, that's the point,* said Arssis. *She is not a voluntary. On the contrary, she hates her Controller with a passion, and yet she was still willing to give herself to Oliss Three-Eight-Three so that it could experience the visual revel on Esiln Kalkat.*

That got Oglud's attention. *Indeed?* he said. *Well, that's curious.*

*No, Arssis, that's wrong,* said another hostless Yeerk. *She doesn't hate her Controller. Remember, she doesn't think she's allowed to hate Yeerks.*

*You know what I mean, Illim Eight-Seven-Seven,* said Arssis, annoyed.

*One moment,* said Oglud, now thoroughly baffled. *Who is prohibiting this involuntary host from hating Yeerks? Her Controller? Her fellow hosts?*

*Her God,* said Illim.

*Excuse me?*

Illim emitted a chemical signature expressive of humble ignorance. *I don't know all the details,* it said, *but it seems that Teresa Sickles believes in a single god who made all sentient beings, and who expects them all to serve each other without concern for themselves. It was because of this that she offered herself to Oliss Three-Eight-Three.*

*Ah,* said Oglud, enlightened. *You mean she is a Christian.*

The two hostless Yeerks stiffened with sudden attentiveness, and their pheromone signatures began to suggest intense interest. *A Christian?* said Arssis. *Was that the word that Oliss used?*

*It may have been,* said Illim. *It certainly had a similar click structure. Tell us, Oglud Eight-Six-Naught, what is a "Christian"?*

Oglud hesitated. He was not at all comfortable with the interest these izcots were showing – it didn't seem healthy for loyal subjects of the Empire to be so curious about a mere human religion – and he certainly didn't want to encourage it by getting into a lengthy discussion. On the other hand, if he refused to say anything, that might merely add the allure of mystery to the subject. Best to give a simple, concise answer, and hope that his own level-headedness might cool their ardor somewhat.

*Well,* he said, *among the humans, there are a number of groups that claim to follow the teachings of a human called Jesus Christ, who lived about twenty-three cycles ago in a country not far from where Visser One first landed when she first came to Earth. The members of these groups are collectively called "Christians"; they are very common on this part of Earth, and one of the things they espouse is the equality of all humans. So I suppose your Teresa Sickles is probably one of them.*

*Is your host a Christian?* Arssis inquired eagerly.

*Er… yes,* said Oglud. *But…*

*Are you a Christian?* said Illim.

*What?* Oglud burst out. *No, of course not. There are no Yeerk Christians.*

*Why not?* said Illim. *If Christians believe that all sentient beings are supposed to serve each other…*

*Not all Christians believe that, shapluk,* said Oglud. *Most Christians are just like any other humans, except for a mild social veneer produced by the traditions of their particular sect. This Teresa Sickles is probably just one of the fanatics that the more primitive Christian groups produce every now and then.*

*Oh,* said Illim.

It and Arssis were silent for a moment, and Oglud breathed a little easier. One never knew, with these hostless ones, how they were liable to take things; the state of perpetual expectation they lived in had a way of keeping their emotions at a constant fever pitch. Fortunately, this also meant that they easily switched from one enthusiasm to another; presumably, in a few days, a new rumor would start sweeping through the pool about Elfangor's ghost inciting Taxxons to rebellion, and Teresa Sickles would become a thing of yesterday.

In the meantime, though…

*Are there many Christian fanatics?* Illim inquired.

Oglud groaned in spirit. *A certain number, yes,* he admitted. *But why are you asking me all this? If you are so interested in Teresa Sickles, seek out her Controller and speak to her.*

*Oh, we have,* said Arssis.

Oglud was caught off guard. *You have?*

*Certainly,* said Arssis. *She is in the pool right now. But, as I said, there is no love lost between her and her host, and the mention of Teresa's God causes her to… well, to overreact somewhat.*

That, Oglud could well believe. He couldn't even imagine what it might be like to infest one of the tireless zealots that the Pentecostal and evangelical churches, or even the Roman Catholics, seemed to churn out with such regularity. How grateful he was that his own host belonged to one of the nice, tepid "mainstream" denominations.

*She says that belief in Teresa Sickles's God is a cowardly, corrupting thing, and that no-one who held it could call itself a loyal subject of the Yeerk Empire,* Arssis continued. *That was why it seemed so strange when you said that there were no Yeerk Christians; Malcar Seven-Four-Five seems to take it for granted that there could be.*

*Perhaps there could,* Oglud conceded, *but I can't imagine why there should be. What sensible Yeerk would risk being accused of host sympathy for the sake of a primitive human religion, no different from a thousand other belief systems scattered throughout the galaxy?*

He had hoped that this less-than-subtle hint would discourage his inquirers from further interest in the subject. He was disappointed. *Really?* said Illim. *You mean that there are other religions that inspire their adherents to give themselves to their enemies out of disinterested kindness? Which ones?*

*Don't get smart with me, Illim Eight-Seven-Seven,* Oglud growled.


At this juncture, to Oglud's relief, the familiar call vibrated through the pool: *Oglud Eight-Six-Nought to the infestation pier!* He swam through the crowds of his fellow Yeerks and slithered back into his host, feeling rather annoyed that what should have been a restful sojourn in the sulp niar had been interrupted by such frivolous chatter.
Last edited by Qoheleth on Tue May 03, 2011 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sacred Host

Post by War-Prince Arleal-Breeyar-Fangor » Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:18 pm

Very good! I may be an Orthodox Jew, but I still enjoyed (most of) this story. Keep up the good work.

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Re: Sacred Host

Post by Dest » Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:17 pm

You know, I'm sure if you edited some words and concepts to make sure nothing in this is copyrighted, this could easily be published, and maybe even become a bestseller :D
Time is not wasted if you enjoyed what you were doing.

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Re: Sacred Host

Post by War-Prince Arleal-Breeyar-Fangor » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:04 pm

[quote="Mr.Destiny"]You know, I'm sure if you edited some words and concepts to make sure nothing in this is copyrighted, this could easily be published, and maybe even become a bestseller :D[/quote]

Unless I'm much mistaken, the entire Yeerk idea, and likely the races of Yeerk, Hork-Bajir, and Taxxon, not to mention the whole rest of the Animorph universe, which is this story's box, are all copyrighted by KAA. Therefore, he would need to edit out 90% of the story, and it would be merely a pile of discussions on Christianity.

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Re: Sacred Host

Post by Elfangor » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:16 pm

It seems guest accounts can't use quotes... Perhaps you could just do it in italics or something?
Actually it seems Guests can't use any BBCodes.
You all have guns
And you never put the safety on
And you all have plans,
To take it

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Re: Sacred Host

Post by Dest » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:10 am

War-Prince Arleal-Breeyar-Fangor wrote:
Mr.Destiny wrote:You know, I'm sure if you edited some words and concepts to make sure nothing in this is copyrighted, this could easily be published, and maybe even become a bestseller :D
Unless I'm much mistaken, the entire Yeerk idea, and likely the races of Yeerk, Hork-Bajir, and Taxxon, not to mention the whole rest of the Animorph universe, which is this story's box, are all copyrighted by KAA. Therefore, he would need to edit out 90% of the story, and it would be merely a pile of discussions on Christianity.
Perhaps I didn't make myself clear.
I meant to change around descriptions and certain concepts so that it was original. For example, the Yeerks could be small insects that plug into the back of your brain, or the Hork-Bajir could be large, mustled, repto-mammalians with long, hairy manes and two forward-going spikes beneath their wrists. makes sense to me, OK?
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Re: Sacred Host

Post by Qoheleth » Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:10 am

Chapter 22 - The Peasants Are Restless

Oglud Eight-Six-Nought was far from the only host-bearing Yeerk who was thus accosted at his feeding. Nearly everyone who had entered the pool during the previous twelve hours had found him/her/itself at the mercy of a swarm of utterly shameless izcots, all demanding to know something about Teresa Sickles, Jesus Christ, or (preferably) both. It was perhaps not surprising, therefore, that one of them should eventually have complained to the Sub-Visser – but, all the same, it took Toloth somewhat by surprise, when he returned to the Bug fighter, to hear his fellow guards and his commanding officer all discussing the human, and the human religion, in which he had worked so hard to conceal his own interest.

"The hostless ones seem to be correct about Teresa Sickles's status, Sub-Visser," said Kythel Three-Eight-Four, tapping on a record pad. "She is an involuntary host, infested some five Earth years ago via the Sharing; her current host is Malcar Seven-Four-Five. No other data are available; she appears to have been utterly insignificant to the Empire until three days ago."

"She is probably insignificant now," muttered Shalaf Eight-Eight-Three. "Imagine making all this fuss about the obsession of a few izcots…"

The low rumble of his voice rose abruptly to a scream as a bolt from the Sub-Visser's Dracon beam struck him squarely across the beak. "Shalaf Eight-Eight-Three," said the Sub-Visser coldly, "you will kindly not open your mouth again unless something intelligent is prepared to come out of it. The obsession of a few izcots, in the current climate, is not a trivial matter. Or need I remind you of how the Andalites recently destroyed our main ground-based Kandrona, resulting in the starvation of a great many low-ranking Yeerks? Because I assure you that the low-ranking Yeerks that survived have not forgotten it, and many of them have become more than a little disenchanted with the Visserarchy since we have shown ourselves ready to sacrifice their lives at a moment's notice. The only reason we have not yet seen an uprising among the lesser spawns is because there has been no charismatic figure to unite them; if this Teresa Sickles movement should fill that void…"

"What Teresa Sickles movement might that be, Sub-Visser?" said Toloth.

The Sub-Visser looked up. "Ah, there you are, Toloth Two-Nine-Four," he said. "So they aren't talking about it in the pool area itself, are they? Well, I suppose it's hardly surprising. If you've had all the pool's hostless pestering you about something through your feeding session, the last thing you'd want would be to rehash it with your fellow host-wearers after reinfestation."

Rank has its privileges. Had it been a fellow guardsman who had delivered that lengthy rumination in place of an answer, Toloth would have demanded somewhat abruptly that he stop blithering and come to the point; because it was the Sub-Visser, he merely waited quietly for the actual answer to arrive.

"Well," said the Sub-Visser, "very briefly, it seems that most, if not all, of the hostless Yeerks in the pool have developed a fascination with a human involuntary called Teresa Sickles. Details are sketchy, but apparently she invited one Oliss Three-Eight-Three to infest her on Esiln Kalkat so that it could partake of the visual revel; she seems to have believed that this was some sort of religious imperative."

"Indeed, sir?" said Toloth. "How strange. And you believe that this fascination on the hostless ones' part might be dangerous?"

"It's certainly possible," said the Sub-Visser. "Remember that we're here to subjugate a race of beings whose intelligence almost equals our own. That's never been done in the history of the Empire before; it's hard to say how much human values and thought processes might contaminate our own if we're not careful. One thing's certain: we don't want a significant minority of our population starting to think that humans – or at least some humans – know secrets hidden from the Yeerk race."

"How could they, Sub-Visser?" said Toloth. "Any secret that a human possesses can be learned by the Yeerk that infests it."

"Yes, but remember that the Yeerks we're talking about have never infested a sentient being," said the Sub-Visser. "And the vast majority of them never will; if they ever become Controllers, it'll be to Gedds and nothing higher. With no actual experience to teach them better, they might get the idea that sentient hosts can find ways of hiding thoughts from their Controllers – or that humans of Sickles's type receive supernatural knowledge that can't be accessed via synapse reading – or… oh, anything. Once they've convinced themselves that Sickles knows something that her Controller doesn't, they'll weave some theory around it."

"Then one ought to discourage them from convincing themselves of that," Toloth observed.

The Sub-Visser gave him a look. "Yes, thank you, Toloth Two-Nine-Four, I had come to that conclusion on my own," he said. "It would be more useful if you could propose a course of action that would so discourage them."

"Why not simply kill the human Sickles?" Toloth suggested.

The Sub-Visser shook his head. "No, that won't solve the problem," he said. "It would be nice if it were that simple, but…" He broke off. "Something wrong, Toloth Two-Nine-Four?"

Toloth quickly regained control over his quivering Hork-Bajir body. "My apologies, Sub-Visser," he said. "A minor burst of host rebellion, nothing more."

And, internally: <Don't be a fool, Gef! I certainly don't want Teresa killed, and I wouldn't have proposed it if there were any danger of the Sub-Visser acting on the suggestion. As it is, though, it carries no risk and makes me look like a proper subject of the Empire. Now settle down and behave yourself, or you might not get to see your precious human again.>

"I see," said the Sub-Visser. "Well, as I say, it's not nearly as simple as that. Killing Sickles, or even Oliss Three-Eight-Three, won't stop the story from circulating – not when the entire hostless population of the Sulp Niar pool already knows the basic details." He sighed, and ran a hand through his hair. "You see, it's a legend we're dealing with here, not just a personality cult. Personality cults are easy to quell; you kill the central figure, the cult loses its motive force, and that's that. But what do you do with someone whose only importance is as a symbol of something bigger? How do you quell a legend?"

In the momentary silence that fell over the Bug fighter after these words, a sudden, mad idea came blazing into Toloth's brain. "There is only one way, Sub-Visser," he said. "We must modify the legend."

The Sub-Visser looked up at him, puzzled. "Excuse me, Toloth Two-Nine-Four?"

Toloth took a deep breath. "I have spent some of my spare time studying the human hosts in the pool," he said. "I am still far from an expert, but I believe that, with proper effort, I could construct an explanation for Teresa Sickles's behavior that would satisfy the hostless Yeerks, and perhaps even reinforce their loyalty to the Empire. I propose that I, Sub-Visser, go into the pool during the next feeding cycle and remain there until I have prevailed on the hostless ones to accept my version of the story."

There was a silence of perhaps half a minute as the Sub-Visser considered this. For Toloth, aghast at his own recklessness, it was perhaps the longest half-minute of his life.

"That is a remarkably ingenious proposal, Toloth Two-Nine-Four," said the Sub-Visser at length. "Of course, one must strike at the root of the problem, and since the root in this case is neither the host nor the Yeerk, but the story itself… yes, you're quite right, it's the only way." He shot a concerned look at his guard. "You're sure you can pull it off, though? Remember, it's not just the girl's personal motives that are in question here; you'll have to give an account of her whole religion."

"I don't think that should present me with any great difficulty, Sub-Visser," said Toloth gravely. "Provided that you give me the full three days to work, that is."

"Take six days, if you like," said the Sub-Visser. "Take as much time as you need. So long as you solve the problem in the end, I won't begrudge you a minute of it."

"Thank you, Sub-Visser," said Toloth.

The Sub-Visser sighed. "Let me tell you something, Toloth Two-Nine-Four," he said. "I have been Sub-Visser One Hundred and Sixty-Three for quite some time now. I've gone through a number of subordinates, and I've seen a fair cross-section of the Yeerk race. But I don't believe I've ever met anyone who was so thoroughly Yeerk as you."

"Thank you, Sub-Visser," said Toloth again.
After a few more minutes' worth of idle words, the guard was permitted to disperse, and Toloth withdrew to his private quarters. No sooner, however, had he thrown himself back on his tail and taken a number of deep breaths than a tap sounded on the door, and he switched it open to reveal Lissim Seven-One-Three standing in the doorway.

Lissim stepped inside, and Toloth switched the door closed again. Without further preamble, Lissim said, "You realize who this Teresa Sickles is, Toloth Two-Nine-Four?"

"I would assume it was the human whose Controller you 'arrested' on Esiln Kalkat," said Toloth calmly. "Unless there is some other human host called Teresa, which I happen to know was not the case five days ago."

"Is the rumor true?" Lissim demanded. "Did this human really let an izcot into her body out of sheer good nature?"

"She did," said Toloth. "I ought to know; I selected the izcot in question."

Lissim groaned, and swiped his tail against the wall in dismay. "Well, this is a pretty state of affairs," he said. "I thought it was such a joke, getting to scare some snotty little human-Controller out of her wits so you could do your research. Now I find we've precipitated an intra-pool crisis."

"A minor one, I think," said Toloth. "Despite the Sub-Visser's concerns, I doubt there is really much to fear from izcot enthusiasms. Unless, of course, the Sub-Visser were to investigate them a bit further and discover what the two of us were up to on Esiln Kalkat, but I think the risk of that is now negligible."

Lissim ignored him. "So Malcar Seven-Four-Five was right, after all," he said. "We laughed when she spoke of the upheavals that her host's religion had caused, yet now we find them illustrated in our own pool." He shook his head. "Who is this human Teresa, Toloth Two-Nine-Four? And what is this power she possesses that so terrifies her Controller and so beguiles the izcot spawns?"

Toloth made a non-committal gesture, as though to say that the question was of no interest to him. In the privacy of his own mind, however, he thought: That, Lissim Seven-One-Three, is precisely what I intend to learn.
Last edited by Qoheleth on Tue May 03, 2011 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.