Megamorphs 6: Survivors of the Kelbrid (Sorry For the Delay)

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Re: Megamorphs 6: Survivors of the Kelbrid (Sorry For the De

Post by StarFleetVeteran » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:08 am

Excellent story! Can't wait to read more!

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Re: Megamorphs 6: Survivors of the Kelbrid (Sorry For the De

Post by capnnerefir » Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:38 pm

BeyondtheEllimist wrote:So you admit that Tobias and Rachel have been Yeerked. After all, a conspiracy among Caysath and the rest of the the Andalites that includes Tobias wouldn't have too many implications beyond the election, would it? The only thing I can think of is that Tobias and Rachel got Yeerked, possibly by renegade Yeerks.
All I'll say is: not even close. ;) I like how your mind works, though. If I didn't already have some definite plans, I'd probably go with something similar.
War-Prince Arleal-Breeyar-Fangor wrote:"Christmas" is almost over. You have not posted the remains of your story. This is not to my liking
Sorry, I forgot how busy Christmas gets. Between buying stuff, playing with new stuff, church, visiting relatives, etc., it's sapped a lot of time. However, you'll have it soon.

And technically, as far as my particular religion is concerned, Christmas lasts until January 5th. :twisted: But it won't take that long.

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Re: Megamorphs 6: Survivors of the Kelbrid (Sorry For the De

Post by BeyondtheEllimist » Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:09 am

cap, what the heck is your new pic supposed to be?
There is much that is beyond the Ellimist . . . he just won't admit it.
Check out my fanfic series, Novamorphs. It has the Animorphs' children fighting a second Yeerk invasion. First book: The Infestation.Second book: The Search.

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Re: Megamorphs 6: Survivors of the Kelbrid (Sorry For the De

Post by capnnerefir » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:02 pm

BeyondtheEllimist wrote:cap, what the heck is your new pic supposed to be?
That would be a lovely Kelbrid drawn for me by Gina.

I will hear nothing against it, it be pure, concentrated awesomeness.

Also, here's three more chapters. Last three will come soon.

CHAPTER 43
David


We've had a lot of arguments about why things ended up the way they did, and we'll probably argue about it until we're all dead. I'm sure Tobias and Rachel like to think that it was their little scheme that clinched things. Me, I'd feel like we wasted a lot of time if I assumed that Al and my efforts didn't matter. And of course, Al says that it wasn't anything we did; just the Andalites not being idiots. I might think he's right, but I'm never going to tell him that.

In the end, I think what it came down to was that the Andalites were a simple people at heart. They're logical, rational, and generally intelligent. Lirem never stood a chance. The whole reason that they were holding this election was that they were all sick of him. Even in the face of the stuff that was thrown at them, the Andalites weren't going to forget that the whole reason they were there was tho get rid of him. The old man didn't stand a shot.

Jaham never had a prayer, either. The biggest problem people had with Lirem was how he handled the First Yeerk War, and they laid the blame equally at Jaham's hooves. No one was pleased with the War Council – many thought it had gotten far too powerful anyway. The last thing they wanted, perhaps even before electing Lirem again, was Jaham calling all the shots.

Honestly, it didn't surprise me to learn that Alloran was even less popular than the previous two. The older Andalites, the ones who had been around for a while, just could not forget who he was and what he used to be. When they looked at him, they saw the face of the Abomination. It would be like a look-a-like of Hitler running for President in the 50s. No chance. And even those who knew the real Alloran remembered him as the Butcher of Hork-bajir. And of course, he was just too old for the younger Andalites to related to. In their minds, he was just another old guy like Lirem and Jaham. Maybe a little cooler, but still an old guy.

Caysath won virtually uncontested. I know it surprised some people – I was sure the Earth pundits would be shocked – but it didn't make me blink. I think the right Andalite got the job. At least Caysath listened to advice. That alone made him a cut above all the others in my eyes. That all by itself might be all that was needed to win us this war. He was the leader. He didn't have to be brilliant – really, he didn't even have to be competent. I'm used to leaders like Jake or Tobias, brilliant leaders who can take the whole world on their shoulders and ask for more. But as long as the person calling the shots listened to people who knew what they were talking about, things would go right.

Caysath called us over to his Scoop after the results were announced. I doubted it was just to thank us, he could have done that via hologram. Something was up, so as always,we were on high alert. Then again, I'm constantly on high alert.

The new Andalite leader was waiting for us in his Scoop when we got there. Surprisingly, Alloran was there, too. Tobias raised an eyebrow at me when he saw that. Expecting me to figure it out. <No clue,> I told him. Not entirely true. I had suspicions, but I didn't want to get Tobias's hopes up. Not yet.

Caysath greeted us all in turn, then turned his attention to Tobias. <My friend, I first want to thank you for your support. Without you, I do not know how things would have ended today.>

Tobias shrugged. “I do what I have to do. What's up, Caysath? You could have thanked me over a hologram.”

<I wanted you to be the first to know. As I am sure you guessed, Jaham is no longer going to be the leader of the War Council. Hopefully, he will resign with dignity, but if not...at least now I have the power to do something about such childishness. You are already familiar with the Andalite who will be replacing him.> He turned all four eyes to Alloran.

<Good choice,> I admitted to Tobias. <He's got real ability, and Caysath's good a good head on his shoulders. I think that'll work out great.>

Rachel nodded. “Good call, Caysath. That's probably who we would have suggested. What do you think will happen to Lirem?”

<A wise Andalite would retire to his Scoop and keep himself out of the public view . If he is intelligent, we will not hear from him until the announcement of his death,> Alloran answered. Then he sighed. <We will probably be hearing from him by the end of the week.>

<Lirem is irrelevant,> Caysath added. <And Alloran is not the only reason I called you here. I intend to right as many of Lirem's wrongs as I can find and in that vein, it came to my attention that he stopped paying you a long time ago. While we use no currency among ourselves, something with which to trade with other races is always helpful, and our War-Princes are permitted to specify how they intend to be paid.>

“Yeah, the lady at...I guess it's the accounting department...went over that with me when I got promoted,” Tobias answered. “Lirem cut me off because I wouldn't lead his armies for him.”

<As I am well aware. So one of my first acts will be to reinstate your stipend, as well as give you all that you are owed. That is only the start of it, though.>

Now things were getting interesting. “Go on,” Rachel prompted.

<As you are no doubt aware, Earth will soon begin sending soldiers off to fight against the Kelbrid, Pythagi, and Yeerks. They wish to coordinate with us on this, a wise decision. I can think of no better liaison than you.>

“Me?” Tobias asked.

“Who better?” Rachel answered before Caysath could. “I can't think of a better person to coordinate the efforts of two races than someone who's a member of both. Plus, you'll look good in a uniform. We'll have to cut your hair again, though...”

Alloran continued. I guess this was his job now. <Captain Gonrod – an acquaintance of yours, I understand – will be sent to command and supervise the diplomatic fleet orbiting Earth. As you know, there are four Dome ships in orbit above the planet, none of which are armed. They and the warriors within them will be under your command, though I admit they are understaffed.>

I saw Rachel mouth the words. Four Dome ships. Not to mention some Moonrakers, transports, and at least a hundred Andalites. All at our fingertips. It was like Christmas for her. For the rest of us too, I think.

The gifts weren't done. <From now on, whenever military coordination is necessary, it will be done through you. In effect, you will be responsible for the defense of Earth. As that does not currently appear to be a target for the Yeerks, you should not need to do much more than paperwork, but you do have the authorization of the War Council and Electorate to do anything necessary to see to the defense of the planet. While you might still be limited by your own Earth governments, I believe you can handle anything that might come up.>

Oh, if they only knew. A serious inflow of cash, soldiers, weapons, ships....I was shaking.

<I understand you wished to remain stationed on Earth due to the impending birth of your child,> Caysath continued after Alloran finished. <I understand that and I think this is a way for us to still make use of your abilities and give you what you want as well. Expect to be contacted by Alloran and other commanders for advice, I will certainly recommend it to them. There is only one more thing I think we have left to do.>

Alloran picked up again. This time, he turned to Rachel, ignoring Tobias entirely. <Rachel...Caysath and I have been speaking, and we both agree that your own efforts have been ignored far too long. Everyone knows of your bravery during the invasion of Earth, and Caysath and I can attest to the aid you provided during the battle for Hork-bajir. Tobias was promoted to War-Prince after that battle. It is a grievous error to ignore your contributions. In light of that, we offer you the chance to be promoted to the rank of Prince, if you so choose. You would, naturally, be under Tobias's command.>

At roughly the same time, everyone voiced more or less the same thought. No one commanded Rachel, especially not her husband.

<We would offer this opportunity to the other Animorphs as well, but as you no doubt are aware, Jake and Aximili already possess such rank, and we doubt Marco and Cassie would be interested, though as a War-Prince, Tobias is qualified to raise a Prince if he so chooses.>

“I'd be honored,” Rachel agreed.

<Excellent. We will perform the ceremony tomorrow. Caysath himself will preside, his first official act as the head of the Electorate.>

I was having some mixed feelings. Alloran was doing most of the talking here. Was that because it was his job, or was Caysath letting Alloran push him around? Maybe only time would tell. I hoped it wouldn't take too long to find out. I hoped we didn't make some mistake. Caysath seemed intelligent, thoughtful, and very different from the average Andalite. I wanted him to succeed. I really, really did.

CHAPTER 44
Jeanne


The Ssri'Kai capital building was burrowed inside of a massive crystal in the main canyon. There were no signs of guards. Perhaps the Ssri'Kai didn't think there was any need of them. Ordinarily, we could not have entered without an invitation. Technically, our very presence on this planet was a severe violation of their customs and, if it was discovered, they could begin a war against us that Earth had no hope of winning. And we were walking right into their front door.

Not as ourselves,of course, or as morphs. Erek projected a hologram of three Ssri'Kai and we hid inside. No one questioned us. Erek led us through the twisting, maze-like hallways of the crystal structure, taking long detours to avoid the places where we would have had to walk up the walls. All in all, it took us nearly an hour to reach the chamber we wanted.

“I sent a message through the Yeerk systems to the Ssri'Kai high command telling them that we needed to meet with them urgently. There should be a representative there, at the very least,” Erek informed us. Remotely hacking the Yeerk systems while he was on the Blade ship or in the Pemalite ship would not have been a problem for Erek. Their computers might as well have been McDonald's wi-fi.

The door appeared to be some sort of crystal fan that grew out of the floor. It was stretched over the doorway but as we approached, it drew in on itself until it was only a thin vertical beam in the middle of the doorway, which itself retracted into the ground. Inside was where the Ssri'Kai high command apparently met with the Yeerks.

The first Ssri'Kai I noticed was seated, predictably, in the center of a group of five. Unlike the others, it was wearing shoulder-plates made of the same crystals that surrounded us. They were veined with gold the same color as the pencil-thin lines of color that decorated its body. “The Ssri'Sho. Literal translation would be Voice of Ssri. You might call her the Ssri'Kai Queen,” Erek whispered. “She represents the will of the Ssri'Kai as a whole.”

The Ssri'Kai to the left of the Ssri'Sho was decorated with violet lines. Erek introduced it as the Van'Sho, the Voice of War, who represented the Ssri'Kai military. On the right of the queen was the Hal'Sho, Voice of Law, the representative of the judicial system. Next to the Voice of War was the Coi'Sho, which most closely translated to Voice of Economy or money. Sort of a financial advisor. Next to the Voice of Law was the Kai'Sho, the Voice of the People. That one represented the opinions of the average Ssri'Kai, giving them a way in an otherwise more or less autocratic government. One other thing Erek noted in his brief explanation. All of the leaders were female, as far as the Yeerks could tell.

“Let me do the talking,” he whispered after introducing them. I cannot make much of alien expressions, but I believe the queen and the others were puzzled by the entrance of three Ssri'Kai when they were expecting Yeerks. Erek dispelled that notion quickly. Before I had a chance to urge him not to, he dropped the hologram.”Greetings, At-Law, great Queen of Ssri. My name is... You can call me Erek.”

Before I could blink, each of the Ssri'Kai before us was leveling one of their spike-like weapons at us. “What are you?” the queen demanded. I was surprised to hear a Ssri'Kai speaking English. I think it had something to do with a collar she was wearing around herneck.

“I am a Chee, great Queen. A creation of the Pemalites.”

That caused a quiet murmur among the Ssri'Kai. While I could not understand a word of it, I could guess from the general tone that they knew something of the Pemalites. Enough to know that a Chee dropping in on them was not an every day occurrence. Finally, At-Law spoke.

“We know of the Pemalites. We are not so ignorant as to forget our own origins. You say you were also created by the Pemalites, and you do share a similar image. That makes you kin, of a sort, and for that we have not yet killed you. But to enter Ssri uninvited is death, even for other Ssri'Kai. Yet here you stand. Why?” She was not exactly short with Erek, but she was demanding, commanding. She was used to having her questions answered and would not accept dissemblance.

“I was invited, Ssri'Sho. I came here with the Yeerks, as one of them. I have hid as one of them for many years now. The Yeerks...you know they are parasites. They conquer worlds, enslave their inhabitants, and strip the planet of all resources not needed to sustain the population. They are murderers without pity, slavers without mercy, and tyrants without purpose.”

“All this we know, Erek the Chee,” the queen answered. She sounded resigned.. “It is disgusting-”

“Under Ssri'Kai law,” the Hal'Sho, the Voice of Law, interrupted, “the Yeerks have the right to live as they wish and govern as they wish so long as it does not directly conflict with established Ssri'Kai policies and is done in their own territory. We have no legal right to stop them.”

“A point of which I am well aware, Hal'Sho,” Erek responded. “I memorized your laws on my journey here. I know it is for that reason that you did not send the Yeerks on their way as soon as you learned what they are. I know that they are repellent to you. You were designed to despise just such creatures. That is not why I am here.”

“Then why are you here?” the Voice of War demanded.

“Because the Yeerks are here to enslave you, now. The five of you, in order to force you to agree to their alliance. And,” Erek continued as the Voice of War began to interrupt him, “that is not their only plan. They plan to attack Grunn'Nesh and frame the Andalites for it so that you will ally with them and fight their enemies. The Emperor knows that he cannot keep the attack a secret forever. But once the alliance is joined, he also knows that your own laws would forbid you from breaking it until his enemies are defeated. By then, he would have so much power that even the Ssri'Kai could not avenge themselves.”

“Have you any proof of these claims?” the Voice of Law asked. “There must always be proof.”

“I have proof, but I have more to say. The Yeerks have other allies.”

“Yes, the Pythagi. We have heard of them. For my part, I say they sound like profitable sorts, perhaps worth seeking out on our own.” That, of course, came from the Voice of Money.

“Not just the Pythagi,” Erek answered. He took a deep breath, almost afraid to continue. “The Kelbrid fight for them.”

That was met with stoney silence from four of the five. For the first time, the Voice of the People spoke up. And she was quite vocal. “No! No matter what anyone else may think, the people will NEVER fight alongside the Kelbrid. Never will any Ssri'Kai stand beside one of those beasts. They are devourers of worlds, murderers of uncountable beings and planets. We have confirmation of two entire galaxies completely depopulated by them.”

“Two galaxies? That's impossible!” Melissa blurted out. I guess the Ssri'Kai assumed we were Chee as well.

“We know of the Chee. We know that you cannot understand war,” the Voice of War answered. “The Kelbrid do. They have been destroying worlds for a very long time. They are one of the oldest races in the galaxy, and they have been destroying ever since. Once unleashed, they can and do consume everything. Every planet visited was devoid of even trees and rocks, some of them were even devoured down to the bedrock. No signs of life detected anywhere. They leave nothing, no matter how long it takes. And it does not take nearly long enough. We stopped them, when they attacked this galaxy. If the Yeerks have unleashed them again...”

“They have, and we can prove it,” I answered. “They are attacking Grunn'Nesh even as we speak.”

“We will dispatch a fleet as soon as we see your evidence. It can be there in hours,” the Queen answered.

Erek nodded. “I have recordings of many of the Emperor's dealings. Meetings with the Kelbrid, discussions of his plans, everything. I can prove it all.”

“Then there is little time to waste,” the queen answered. “Let us prepare.”

CHAPTER 45
James


We were more screwed then I remember being in a long, long time. We couldn't take the Andalite ship, we couldn't call for help, and that was about it as far as our options went. No choice but to meet them in battle and...and do what? What kind of chance was there?

According to the captain, Kelbrid weren't very good at fighting a battle on their own. They just descended into mindless slaughter. So if we could kill their leaders, maybe we'd have a shot. Maybe. It would still leave us fighting who knows how many blood-crazed Kelbrid. Even with several hundred Ssri'Kai at my back, that wouldn't be fun.

But that was all we had. I would be with a strike force of Ssri'Kai who would attack the pool ship and hopefully kill many Kelbrid commanders. Others would be attacking other command posts. That would tie up the majority of the Ssri'Kai, leaving what Grunn we could gather to try to somehow hold off the Kelbrid...somehow. Ronnie elected to be with them. I didn't blame him. In a way, we brought this on them, and now no matter what happened, a lot of Grunn were going to die. Someone should be with them.

There were fifty of us, this time. A lot more Ssri'Kai than I ever expected to see in one place, much less looking at me like I had some idea what I was doing. I wasn't in charge, thankfully, but the commanding officer seemed to think I was. As she put it, I had more experience against Yeerks than anyone else there. That wasn't going to help us out at all.

We had something of a plan – a bad one. I remembered a story the other Animorphs told me about back when I re-joined the fight. Basically, Jake blew up a fuel line in a Pool ship and, as a result, blew the whole thing to pieces. Normally, that wasn't doable, but that one was still under construction – the safeguards hadn't been put in place. We were going to attempt something similar. One team would infiltrate the control room and toss those safeguards out the window. That would be my team. The other would go to the engines and try to get them to blow.

All in all, I guess it wasn't a horrible plan, but I can't help but think about what happened to the last person who tried it.

We were waiting in a Ssri'Kai transport ship. It was light, fast, and basically an aluminum can with rockets that would crumple up at the first shot from one of the Pool ship's Dracon beams. Still, it was fast and that was what we needed. We needed a diversion first, though. So we had to wait for the battle to start. I felt like vomiting the whole time.

It began with the Pool ship making the predictable dramatic entrance. Red lightning bombarded out position from above the clouds. Our shields kept it from damaging us, but it was still intimidating. Next, a few other colors joined in as the other ships got in on the act. Finally, the Pool ship, Dome ship, and a Blade ship took up positions equidistant from us, pinning us in an unpleasant little triangle. I guess the other Blade ship and that starburst looking thing were staying in orbit, just in case.

Lasers flashed in the sky as fighter ships engaged each other. I didn't see the red ship out there – I guess Naronn was still commanding the battle. Hopefully from the Pool ship. The ships fought for a few minutes, the Grunn and Ssri'Kai quickly being forced back into defensive positions. That was when the ground troops got in on it. Kelbrid poured out of the Pool and Blade ships. The Dome ship remained silent, but it did bombard our position with some very powerful Shredder cannons.

I've seem some scary things, and a Kelbrid charge is definitely one of them. They came like a tidal wave, as impossible to ignore as it was to stop. A wave of Kelbrid a quarter mile long loped straight for the front ranks of Grunn. Ssri'Kai were forming a second rank, with mixed reserve units behind them. The Grunn and Ssri'Kai opened fire at the mass of Kelbrid, but it didn't seem to do any good. Some died, I'm sure, but no one noticed.

The Kelbrid literally rolled over the Grunn. They made straight for the Ssri'Kai, completely ignoring the Grunn. The result was that the central ranks of the Grunn were trampled while the Kelbrid left significant forces on their right and left. That meant nothing to them. A few moments later, the Kelbrid and Ssri'Kai were fighting one another, the Ssri'Kai desperately trying to hold them back while the reserves and our few available ships rained laser fire down on them.

Then it was time for us to take off. Our ship sped towards the Pool ship, keeping just above the heads of the warriors below. No one even stopped to shoot at us until we were almost on top of the Pool ship. And on top is where we wanted to go. Both teams needed to get inside, and if we tried to enter at two different points, it was likely the transport would be shot down before the second team reached its goal. So we were all going in together.

A hatch opened in the floor of the transport and we hopped out, onto the top of the Pool ship. One of the engineers blew a hole big enough for two Kelbrid right through into the Dropshaft. I was in my lion suit now, ready to go. My team went first, dropping down only a few feet and then exploding into a hallway. When I landed, it was already a scene of violence. A foreguard of Ssri'Kai was keeping a small mass of Kelbrid at bay while a secondary group shot at them. I ran forward and joined in the melee fight.

I swatted a Kelbrid in the side of the head with one paw and raked the claws of my other across its whiskers. It stumbled, dazed and blind for a moment. I lunged and hit it with all my weight, knocking it down. A quick bite to the throat ended that one. I turned to fight another and barely noticed that already, there was a long gash in my side, the Kelbrid poison killing the nerves so I didn't even know I was hurt. No choice but to keep fighting. I ran at a second Kelbrid, keeping low to the ground. Almost underneath it, I reared my head back and scraped my teeth across its throat. Burning blood splahsed over my face, but I wasn't blind or dead, so I kept moving.

Slowly, we fought our way towards the control room. More Kelbrid appeared on our rear, but we were ready. Warriors in the center kept a steady stream of fire at both groups of Kelbrid and slowly and surely, we pushed our way onwards. The enemies in front of us grew less as those behind us grew more. By the time we finally reached the control room, there was no one left there to stop us.

I demorphed as soon as we entered the control room, sealing the Kelbrid out behind us. I was wounded in more places than I could count. Gashes from stingers that I never felt, broken ribs and one shattered leg from Kelbrid fists and body-blows, and more acid burns than I knew numbers for. My skull was almost visible in several places. I had managed to take down seven Kelbrid in the fighting. More than I've ever killed, but then again, I've never had thirty Ssri'Kai to help. At least four of the ones I killed were already wounded.

The Ssri'Kai leader nodded at me. “You fight well, James. Very well.”

I looked at the wounded and dead Ssri'Kai. As a rule, they left no bodies behind, so I could see that we had eleven dead and another dozen wounded. They couldn't just morph their injuries away. If I couldn't have done that, I'd have died for sure. “I'm just lucky. Let's do this thing.”

This was a job for the engineers, so I went over with the warriors who weren't tended to the wounded and disintegrating the bodies of the dead. They were plotting an escape route. As soon as we got confirmation from Team 2, we were out of here. The best way seemed to be to take the most direct route. Out through the wall and run right down the side of the ship. Vertical surfaces were no problem for Ssri'Kai, and I could always grow wings.

It took me a few minutes before I realized that the steady pounding I was hearing wasn't my heart. It was Kelbrid throwing themselves against the door. Sooner or later, someone would come along with a Dracom beam and start blowing holes through it. We hoped to be gone by then. An engineer already had a charge on the wall, ready to blow. We waited, those who were able taking up positions in front of the door in case the Kelbrid broke through. I would have held my breath if I wasn't afraid of passing out and being trampled by the Ssri'Kai and/or Kelbrid.

Finally, the commander said something in the ear-splitting Ssri'Kai language. Faintly, I heard a response coming from the collar around her neck. The commander responded and the engineer blew the charge. Time to go. I was already morphing. Thanks to that, I was the last one out. The commander hesitated, but then decided not to wait for me. I didn't want her to anyway. After all, I didn't have to run down the side of the ship. They had farther to go than I did.

A few moments after the Ssri'Kai left, the Kelbrid broke through the door, with some help from a Taxxon with a Dracom beam. The Taxxon flew to the main computer, little claws scrabbling over keys and interfaces like one of those chefs at a Japanese steak house with the fancy knife tricks. I couldn't let it reassert the safeguards. One of the Kelbrid looked at me and that was when the idea struck. I flew straight at the Kelbrid. And being a Kelbrid, it came right for me.

I twisted and scraped a claw across its scalp. That was all I needed. I wheeled about and flew out through the hole in the wall, turning again to watch. I saw the Taxxon-Controller twitching, Yeerk warring with host. As always, the host won and against every ounce of reason and better judgment, the Taxxon made a beeline for the wounded Kelbrid. That ended how you would expect it to.

I circled higher, trying to put some distance between myself and the explosion. I counted. A minute passed. And then everything turned white. My ears were ringing. I didn't know up from down. Slowly, my vision cleared and my hearing came back. When I came to my senses I found myself floating on the most intense thermal I've ever experienced. There Pool ship was a smoking wreck on the ground below me. Part of me thought that maybe we could win this.

Then I looked at the rest of the battle.

BeyondtheEllimist
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Re: Megamorphs 6: Survivors of the Kelbrid (Sorry For the De

Post by BeyondtheEllimist » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:31 pm

capnnerefir wrote:
BeyondtheEllimist wrote:cap, what the heck is your new pic supposed to be?
That would be a lovely Kelbrid drawn for me by Gina.

I will hear nothing against it, it be pure, concentrated awesomeness.
I have no intention of saying anything against it, for it is pure, concentrated awesomeness. I like it.

And the chapters were good, too.
There is much that is beyond the Ellimist . . . he just won't admit it.
Check out my fanfic series, Novamorphs. It has the Animorphs' children fighting a second Yeerk invasion. First book: The Infestation.Second book: The Search.

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nomadsland
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Re: Megamorphs 6: Survivors of the Kelbrid (Sorry For the De

Post by nomadsland » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:13 pm

Great update! Things are really starting to pull together now. The part about nobody commanding Rachel made me laugh. I'm really looking forward to the climax. :)
Launch forth into the deep

Allons-y!

War-Prince Arleal-Breeyar-Fangor

Re: Megamorphs 6: Survivors of the Kelbrid (Sorry For the De

Post by War-Prince Arleal-Breeyar-Fangor » Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:36 pm

Excellent! (Much better than the last one)
You should make sure to get them all Ssri' Kai morphs before the book is over.

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Re: Megamorphs 6: Survivors of the Kelbrid (Sorry For the De

Post by Alanfangor » Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:25 pm

Awseome just awseome

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Re: Megamorphs 6: Survivors of the Kelbrid (Sorry For the De

Post by TwistyWristy » Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:28 am

Excellent work as always Capnnerefir. I can't tell you how much I love this series and I really appreciate all the time and effort you take in all of your writing. Looking forward to the concluding chapters and the further tales that Neomorphs brings in 2011!

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Re: Megamorphs 6: Survivors of the Kelbrid (Sorry For the De

Post by capnnerefir » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:49 pm

nomadsland wrote:Things are really starting to pull together now. The part about nobody commanding Rachel made me laugh.
Thanks. I try to make things more or less come together in the end.
War-Prince Arleal-Breeyar-Fangor wrote:You should make sure to get them all Ssri' Kai morphs before the book is over.
I try to limit the powerful alien morphs; I regret giving out many of the ones I did early on. It feels almost like cheating.
John3Sobieski wrote:*thumbs up*
b :mrgreen: d
Alanfangor wrote:Awseome just awseome
Thank you, young man.
TwistyWristy wrote:Excellent work as always Capnnerefir. I can't tell you how much I love this series and I really appreciate all the time and effort you take in all of your writing. Looking forward to the concluding chapters and the further tales that Neomorphs brings in 2011!
Thanks, Twisty. This year, I should be able to devote more time to the series than in 2010; that was a crazy year for capnnerefirs. Now that my life is much more stable, I can devote more of my time to writing. There will be plenty of Neomorphy goodness in 2011.

Well, guys, sorry this is late. Turns out the library was closed during New Year's, so I couldn't get online until yesterday, and when I got here yesterday, I found out I had the document saved in a weird format that wouldn't open on the computers here. Anyhow, I've got it together now, so sit back and enjoy the end of this story.

CHAPTER 46
Al


Rachel was given the rank of Prince. Not Princess – she was very insistent on that point. Prince Rachel would take a little getting used to, but I would adapt. A day later, Tobias had me promoted to the rank of Warrior in a private ceremony. Apparently, he would have done so long ago, but he did not realize he actually had the authority to do it.

We contacted Prince Jake and the others to inform them of our news. We were lucky enough to catch all three of them together. Marco and Prince Aximili almost looked like they were going to cry tears of joy when they learned that we had several hundred Andalite warriors available for emergencies. They had some good news of their own.

“Training is going well,” Prince Jake assured us. “Marco and I have taught them everything we can about battles and such – there isn't a whole lot they didn't know. We just had to provide a few details they didn't think of. And drill it into their heads that hosts are innocent victims, so mass casualties on either side are unacceptable. I'm...not sure the Russians got it.”

“They're getting on well enough,” Marco agreed. “Things get a little tense, and generally the Americans and Russians keep to their own, but they don't fight with each other and both listen to what Tri-I and we tell them to do. I think the Russians might be a little better at that.”

<Yes, they do seem to have vast experience obeying orders they do not understand,> Ax agreed. <I believe things will go well, when the invasion force strikes.>

“Ax has been teaching them about ship-to-ship fighting. He insists he isn't some epic pilot or anything, but he seems good enough to me,” Prince Jake added. “The Tri-I guys seem to have the hang of that. All in all, it looks like our part will be finished here in a few days.”

<Any word from Sara and the others?> David asked.

“All seems quiet,” Prince Jake began.

“And that worries me,” Marco added. “The Yeerks have to have noticed by now that we're taking some personal days. They should be moving.”

“The less trouble those girls get into, the better,” Tobias answered. “I'm thinking we might want to keep them on when we get back.”

Prince Jake shrugged. “What Kristina does is up to her, but I don't think you'll get past Aunt Naomi if you want Jordan and Sara. Just because you're her son-in-law doesn't mean she has to admit it.”

Rachel laughed at that, but there was something about her expression. She almost looked like she was in pain... I looked closer. Her breathing was a little irregular, and she had her fists tightly clenched at her side. <Are you alright?> I asked her.

She gave a slight shake of her head but said and did nothing.

“It looks like we'll be going home in a few, too,” Prince Tobias continued. “I just want to keep an eye on Caysath for a few days and make sure he isn't letting Alloran have too much power too fast or too easily.” He nodded to David, giving him what credit there was for that idea.

A few more pleasantries followed before we cut the communication. David and I decided to retire to my mother's Scoop for the day. We had not been sleeping well lately and needed to catch up on some rest. It was during the walk that David said something that shocked me.

<Al, I've been thinking... I don't know how much longer I can do this.>

<Do what?> I asked, pretending not to understand. Surely I had misheard him.

<This. All of it. I...I'm getting old, Al. Very old, for a rat. If I stay in this body, I don't know how much longer I have. Less than a year, I know that. Maybe just a couple of months.>

<David, what are you saying...?>

<You know what I'm saying, Al. Soon – maybe very soon – I'm going to have to become human. I don't have much choice.>

I wanted to argue with him, but there was no argument I could make. I know that not even Prince Tobias would be so ruthless as to ask him to continue fighting under the circumstances. I certainly could not. <What are you going to do?> I asked finally.

<I...There's something I haven't told anyone else yet, Al. It didn't feel like the time, but you should all know soon. The Global Operations Director of Tri-I, John Montresor...Al, do you know what my last name is?>

<Come to think of it, I do not know if anyone ever told me,> I admitted. Omitting our surnames was simply an Animorph habit.

<My name is David Montresor. John Montresor is my father.>

I stopped walking. <David...the chances of that are...>

<Better than you might think. He used to be in the...covert intelligence...business. He'd have connections, skills, experience. And motivation. After all...the Yeerks took his son. I don't know how it happened, Al, but I recognized him the moment I saw him. When I'm human again...I want to go home.>

I had no idea what to say. <David, how will you explain...everything.>

<I don't know, Al. But...It's like I'm really getting a second chance. I'll be human again. Fourteen again. With my father and mother. I checked some things while we were here with fancy Andalite computers, and there's nothing suggesting that she died, and there are some references to the director of Tri-I being married. My family can be together again, Al...I can finally go home.>

<I understand, David. I will not argue against any of it. I just hope →

I cut off as Prince Tobias flew overhead in his hawk morph. <Guys, get morphed RIGHT NOW!>

Prince Tobias rarely shouts, if ever. We immediately began doing as he said. <What's the problem?> David asked. <Is someone trying to assassinate Caysath or something?>

< We need to find the Andalites James was staying with immediately.>

<Wha - why?> David asked.

<One was a doctor of some kind, studying humans. Or something like that. And right now, we need that.>

<Why is that?> I asked. I believed I already knew the answer.

<Because Rachel's about to have the baby.>

CHAPTER 47
Melissa


Once they were convinced that we weren't some sort of deception, the Ssri'Kai moved fast. They didn't like enemies on their doorstep, and they really couldn't take the thought of Kelbrid nearby. They gathered quickly and were ready to jump into orbit within a matter of hours. The first thing they did was arrest any and all Yeerks they could find. Naturally, the Emperor had taken that Blade ship and fled as soon as we escaped, and many Yeerks made it out, but we still got a couple dozen.

Next, we were in space, performing a quick sweep to make sure there weren't any other Yeerk ships hiding nearby. The Voice of War was in charge of the whole thing, which was only natural. We were riding on her ship. Everyone was tense and worried. Maybe there wasn't anything to worry about, though. Maybe James and Ronnie had found some way to stop the attack. I don't know how, but maybe...

The planet, Grunn'Nesh, was very close to Ssri, so we got there pretty quickly. When we arrived, our fears were confirmed. A Blade ship and a giant ship I didn't recognize, one with a lot of spears or something jutting out of it, were waiting for us. We weren't too worried, though. Ssri was defended by six capital ships at all times, and we brought all of them for this.

Beams of blinding light shot from the Ssri'Kai ships, bright, deadly lasers that cut straight through anything. Three concentrated on the Blade ship and made short work of it. The starburst ship stood up to the first barrage, some sort of shield system absorbing the first attacks. It returned fire with weapons I didn't recognize. Our ship was rocked by some sort of gravity wave, hit with energy beams I didn't recognize, and assaulted in ways only the engineers understood. But we held.

All six capital ships opened fire on the starburst next. Their shields went down and we tore some nice, big holes through their hull. One of the spires was lanced clean off. That was when they decided to get out of there. It began accelerating, far faster than something that size should have been able to go. It was almost like a mace, a giant, spiked, deadly ball. It almost hit us as it passed, and some of the lasers the other ships were firing on it glanced off of our shields.

The ship disappeared. “Too bad,” Jeanne muttered. “I wish I knew who was responsible for that one.”

Then it was down to the planet. We reached the battle quickly and didn't like what we saw. Clearly, the defenders were in a very bad position. There was a Blade ship in the air over the fight, raining Dracon beams down at Ssri'Kai and Grunn. There was, even more shockingly, an Andalite Dome ship trading shots with a Ssri'Kai capital s hip. On the ground, more Kelbrid than I ever wanted to see were among Grunn and Ssri'Kai. They were completely surrounded, but that didn't seem to bother them. It was just a vortex, a black hole that swallowed the Ssri'Kai and Grunn that approached it.

There was a smoking wreck that I think used to be the Pool ship. At least that was one for our side. But they had no chance of winning. Some of the Kelbrid had broken free of the circle and were coming back around for another attack. Two of our ships opened fire on those Kelbrid while the other four ripped into that Blade ship. Less than a minute later, the ship exploded, debris showering the soldiers below.

We turned to the Dome ship next. I guess the captain realized something was wrong because they started running for orbit. Three of our ships gave chase while we turned the rest to the battle. It was good that the Kelbrid were all gathered together; it made things a lot easier.

Maybe Kelbrid are stupid, maybe they're just insane, but none of them started running when we attacked. We showered them with deadly light, killing them by the score, and they didn't try to flee. They fought on harder, trying to drag as many Ssri'Kai and Grunn down with them as possible. It didn't last long, though. Nothing can stand up to a concentrated barrage from four Ssri'Kai capital ships. In less than five minutes, the battle was over, the Kelbrid no more.

We landed near the main command post., among a joyful gaggle of Ssri'Ka and Grunn. Jeanne and I left the Ssri'Kai to talk about what happened among themselves. There were two in particular we were looking for. The first one, we found easily. James was surrounded by a small group of Ssri'Kai. It looked like they were congratulating him. He had some sort of crystal in his hand, and one of those translation collars in the other. He jogged over to us when he saw us.

“Things went well on Ssri,I take it?” he asked.

“You might say that,” Jeanne answered. “The Ssri'Kai aren't willing to commit to any sort of alliance with us yet, but with Kelbrid involved...they really hate Kelbrid. I believe we will be able to count on their support in the near future.”

“What happened with you?” I asked, nodding at the crystal. The Ssri'Kai seemed to care about those things.

“Oh, this? They thought I deserved some sort of reward.”

“For what?” I asked.

He nodded in the direction of the destroyed Pool ship. “We had a little bonfire. They enjoyed it. Give me way too much credit for it, though.”

“Where's Ronnie?” Jeanne asked.

James's face fell. “I'm not sure. He...he was on the ground with the Ssri'Kai and Grunn.”

“He's fine,” said a voice from behind us. Ronnie was frowning, but he does that a lot, I noticed. He looked like he was about ready to fall over. “I spent far too much of that going in and out of consciousness. I hate those stingers. I want to know when I'm hit instead of passing out. Some Ssri'Kai kept waking me up, though. Demorph, remorph, and I'm good to go again.”

“How many times did you have morph?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Five or six, I think.”

“And you can still walk?” Jeanne asked.

“He's got more stamina than anyone I've seen before,” James admitted. “I only did three morphs and I feel like I could sleep for the next three days.”

“You can sleep on the ship,” Jeanne offered. “The Ssri'Kai currently believe that Melissa and I are Chee.”

“Kind of a long story,” I added.

“We should leave before they discover the truth. It might be...uncomfortable,” Jeanne finished.

“You have the ship?” James asked.

I nodded. “It's in the hangar of the capital ship we came in on. They won't mind if we slip away. Erek's waiting for us there.”

As we left the battlefield, I shivered. The other Animorphs always told me that our version of war was horrible, and it definitely was. The constant fear, the paranoia, the nightmares...it wasn't a whole lot of fun. But when I looked at the battlefield...all the Ssri'Kai and Grunn lying dead for...for what? So that the Kelbrid couldn't have this chunk of ground? I understood about strategy and all that, but for me, what it came down to was that a whole lot of good people were dead for very little reason.

This was happening all over the galaxy. Andalites, Anati, Hork-bajir, all getting themselves killed in massive numbers. Soon, humans would join them; were looking forward to joining them. And the only way to stop it was with more of it. The Kelbrid would never stop. The Yeerks wouldn't, either. I doubted the Pythagi would unless the first two just gave up.

I sighed. No choice, was there? We had to keep fighting our own war. Maybe if we won on Earth, Azmaveth would send the Kelbrid home. Then there'd be a chance. No choice but to press on.

CHAPTER 48
Ronnie


I slept during the first half of the ride home. I was more exhausted than I'd ever been. The others seemed impressed I could do so much morphing in such a short amount of time. I'd rather sleep than accept compliments.

I was in a dark mood. We all were. No one could be happy after seeing that slaughter. James and I couldn't even be happy about being rescued. We just felt tired. Numb. Sick. And it felt like nothing could change that, nothing could take away those memories. At the time, it was really hard to remember why I chose my new path. Really, really hard to argue against what Cassie had always told me about war and fighting.

But that always made me remember Cassie. And what that Yeerk did to her. If I had to watch a thousand worlds die, I'd make him pay for it. There was nothing else left to me. I knew she didn't want me to do it. I knew she'd want me to give it up and move on. Cassie never believed in revenge.

There's an old saying about revenge. I don't know who said it – I think some Chinese guy, so you could probably ask Tobias. “If you set out on a journey of revenge, first dig two graves.” I guess one is for the person you're going to kill. The other is for you. That was fine by me. I'd go to my own grave gladly. At least Cassie would be there with me. I just had to drag this one Yeerk down with me.

Erek contracted Tobias about halfway through the journey. None of us felt like talking, so Erek informed us of the situation. Caysath elected, Alloran the new head of the War Council, and Tobias the new defender of Earth. That was good, I guessed. At least he wouldn't have the Electorate breathing down his neck all the time. None of us felt like caring at the moment.

We didn't bother with Andalite customs or anything like that. Not even they could detect our ship if we felt like hiding. We put down next to the Scoop they were staying in – much to Al's mom's shock and joy. I guess she was excited about a new piece of alien technology. That apple stayed pretty close to both trees.

We congratulated each other as though we really felt it. In a distant way, I think we did. I was glad Rachel and Al got promoted to ranks I felt they deserved a long time ago. They were glad our mission went well. They called it a success, anyway. I didn't know what to think about it. Yeah, the Yeerks and Ssri'Kai were enemies now. All it took as a few thousand good sentients murdered.

“We've got a little surprise for all of you,” Tobias said, after all of our congratulations were finished. “We wanted to mention this earlier, but...”

Rachel went into the back of the Scoop. She returned with a small bundle in her arms. I almost fell over when I realized it was a baby. Maybe a day or so old. I had no doubt who the parents were. “Everybody...meet Gideon.”

For the next few hours, we all just sat around holding the baby, everyone taking a turn. Even Erek got a chance, and he seemed very comfortable with it. When I held that child in my arms, it was like all the dark thoughts I was having since Grunn'Nesh all just melted away. It was almost like magic or something. I just couldn't be upset while holding that child. I couldn't.

I was about to pass Gideon to Melissa when suddenly, there was something between us. Wrinkled, purple, kind of like Barney if he was designed by Tim Burton. We just called him the Drode. I snatched the child back before that...thing...could touch him. Cassie always said the Drode and his master, Crayak, were a level of evil that the Yeerks couldn't even understand.

“Awww!” the Drode whined. “But It was my turn!”

“Drode,” Tobias answered, “let me make this very clear. You never touch my son. Ever.”

“If you do,” Rachel added, “I'm going to make you wish...well, you're the twisted one here. Maybe I'll make you supply me with ideas.”

“You make me shudder,” the Drode smiled. “And tingle. Congatulations! So, does the little beast have a Godfather yet? I'm available, you know.”

“Not a chance,” Rachel responded.

“Ah, but Rach! You owe me! Who do you think kept the Yeerks from doing anything while you were away? That cost me, you know. Us, I should say. After all, if I go down I'm taking you all with me.”

“What do you want?” I demanded of the thing. I was finally starting to feel good again.

“What, me? I can't just pop in to say hello?”

“You could. You don't. We've had this talk before,” Tobias responded. “What do you want?”

“Just to congratulate you all! It was a nice bit of work. Davo and Ally did a great job, don't you think? Making enemies of Andalites like Lirem and Jaham. I'm sure that won't come back to haunt you all. Did you tell them all your secret yet, Davo? How long do you think you can keep it hidden? I give it a month. What about you, Ally? Are you going to share with the group? What if you were ordered to?”

The Drode turned to Jeanne and Melissa. “A great job the two of you did, too. Forcing Erek into helping the Ssri'Kai murder thousands of Kelbrid and who knows how many innocent hosts on the ships they blew up. That'll eat away at him for the rest of his life. How long will that be? Two thousand years? Three thousand? Forever? He'll never forget what happened. Bravo.”

He looked at us next and I felt my stomach turn to ice. I knew what was to come. “And you two. Ronnie-boy and James. Did you like it, James? You got to play the big hero and save everyone. Right? Or did you just cause more death. We know what you'd like to think. And we know what the truth is. And you, Ronnie. Did it feel good? Did you like it, the feel of your claws in those Kelbrid? The smell of death? The taste of blood...there's nothing quite like it, is there? You've got real potential, kid. I'm going to watch you closely. Maybe Cassie had better taste in men than I thought.”

“Don't you ever say her name!” I shouted at the...the thing.

“Oh Ronnie. You and I have a lot in common, you know. I could teach you a lot about yourself. Deep down inside...well, we're really all the same, aren't we? Now that all that other...stuff...has been taken from you, you know who you really are. You're no better than I am, are you?”

I would have hit him. I wanted to. But my arms were busy holding Gideon. I focused on the child. He didn't seem bothered by the Drode's sudden appearance. He was snuggled happily in my arms, trying to sleep.

“You're wrong,” I answered in a much gentler voice. I kept my eyes focused on the baby. “What you fight for – if actually fight at all – you'd crush anything to get it. But me...I fight to stop people like you. No matter what I was fighting for, there are some things I'd never do. Some people I would never hurt. Some things I'd give everything to protect. That's the difference between us. We fight to preserve. You only want to destroy.”

The Drode frowned. “Maybe not as much potential as I thought. Still, good job, all of you. I'm very proud. Have fun keeping your secrets. And when the time comes to pay for the gift I gave you, try not to complain too much.”

He was gone, but a dark feeling lingered.

James shuddered. “I wish he wouldn't do that. He's supposed to be on our side. Does he have to insult us all the time?”

“He's on his own side,” Melissa answered.

Rachel took Gideon from me, smiling. “We're on our own side, too. We take care of our own.”

We all gathered around them, mother and child. In a way, Gideon was everyone's child. I knew, now, that no one here would ever dream of giving up. I know the fight got hard, and after what we saw on Grunn'Nesh, we'd be tempted to give it up. But all I had to do was think about Gideon. That tiny child. Defenseless, helpless... We'd all give up anything to protect him.

I know that we've all told ourselves we were saving the world. But that's kind of a big thing, you know? It's hard to really think about what that means, hard to boil it down to something you can understand. I know it was hard for me, at least. But this...this I could understand. I couldn't fight to save the world. But I could sure as hell fight to protect this child.

Yeah. For this kid, and for all the others like him everywhere, we would fight.

And now, to leave you with some words of wisdom from Streetlight Manifesto:

"Dear Mr. Gepetto:
I hope this finds you well
I wrote this letter
'cause we miss you here in Hell

And now I know it's hard when you don't know what to think
And every single smile is a thorn when you're waking up
You might try but you won't get by until you're crucified for all the things you try to do
And I don't care if you sink or swim
And I don't care how you hold it in
As long as you don't bother me
With all the things I don't bother you with
And 9 times out of 10 you might be right
But what about that time you know you're wrong?
Keep singing that same song
And everybody smiles but they'll never get along

I'm trying and I'm trying and I'm trying and I'm trying to let go:
But everybody's going down tonight

We are the few that won't say nothing right
We are the footsteps fading into the night
Nobody cares and nobody stares with such conviction and I say:
I never wanted this, no one ever wanted this
But they gave it to me so I might as well be proud of it
And I don't know where we went wrong
All i know now is i got to do something right

So come clean
No one should have have to live with the things you've seen
But you're living anyway"

- We Are The Few

Don’t miss the next installment in the Animorphs series:

#75: THE PINEAPPLE
Spoiler:
We were feeling pretty good about ourselves when we got home. It isn't every day we win a victory so clearly. Still, it was a hard fight and we were all tired. I was glad to be home; glad to be back with our son. Kristina handed Gideon to me as soon as we walked in. “Was he bad?” I asked. She was pretty quick to give him back. “No more than other kids his age. He cried a bit a few hours ago but was fine when I gave him a bottle,” Kristina answered. “I think he knew you were almost home, though.” I nodded. “Thanks, Kristina. I don't know what we'd do without you.” “Pay a real baby sitter?” she suggested. Everyone else was trickling back to their own rooms. Well, as close as that came. Kristina went back to what used to be James's room; we had nowhere else to put her for the moment and she needed her privacy. James was stuck sleeping on the couch, and Ronnie was over against the wall in a cot we bought at an army surplus store. We didn't trust Ronnie alone just yet. I knew he tended to drink when there was nothing else to do, and the last thing we needed was a loose cannon with a drinking problem. So we were keeping an eye on him for a little bit. Once we were sure he could handle himself, we'd let him do what he wanted to do. Al slept in the living room as well. He made himself a nice little spot between the couch and the wall. And of course, David slept there, too. He wasn't allowed in Kristina's room alone – after all, he was a teenage boy and there are limits to what's allowable – and we didn't want him sneaking into our room, either. Tobias and I, naturally, shared our room with Gideon. Tobias was already in there, but he wasn't asleep. He had a small, burnt-orange cube in one hand and a communicator in the other. The heads of several Andalites hovered in the air over it. At least, I assume it was several. They all looked alike to me. The cube was projecting some sort of star chart – I never learned how to read those things. I guess it was a battle map of some kind. Tobias was talking. “-Taxxon world used to be important as an industrial center, but with the Yeerks' new, heavier reliance on the Pythagi, it isn't critical anymore.” <Even if it is not needed as a manufacturing center, it is still a source of countless hosts,> one of the Andalites responded. I had no idea which. “Taxxon hosts,” I snorted. The heads turned to glare at me. Maybe for interrupting them, I didn't care. We always spoke our minds when we were making plans. Even playing by their rules, I had every right to speak. I was a Prince now, officially. And Tobias was, technically, my commander. As long as he didn't silence me, I was free to speak. And of course, he wouldn't try something stupid like that. I continued. “Just give one a scratch and the fifty around him will eat him up in a matter of seconds. Not a danger. Especially when the Yeerks seem to have access to limitless Kelbrid anyway.” Tobias nodded. “Those hosts are virtually useless now. If they want Taxxons, let them have them. Much better to have those soldiers reinforcing important locations than guarding things we don't need. What's the situation on Hork-bajir?” One of the Andalites shook his head. I believe his name was Glorfindel, Tobias's old commander, at least in name. <A stalemate, for the moment. My forces and the Kelbrid still fight over the surface, and the Hork-bajir hosts fight with the free ones in the trees. No side has any advantage. If we had some reinforcements...> <We have none to spare,> another Andalite answered. I recognized that one easily. Alloran, newly promoted to the head of the Andalite War Council. I think that made him the overall commander of this war. <You will have to break the stalemate on your own, War-Prince Glorfindel.> “My intelligence indicates that the new Yeerk Emperor is leery of using Kelbrid more than is necessary,” Tobias told Alloran. That intelligence came from observations Jeanne and Melissa made when they encountered the Yeerk Emperor on a recent mission. The charming twin brother of our own Visser. I was sure there was some way to use that to our advantage, but political stuff isn't really my thing. “If we force him to withdraw troops from Hork-bajir, he'll take the Hork-bajir Controllers. That will give the natives uncontested control over the trees. I'd suggest digging your soldiers in the canyon, in the old Arn city. Control the sky and the deeps and hit the Kelbrid from both sides. Even Kelbrid will break under that.” Glordinfel's image shuddered. <I hate the deeps. That's no place for an Andalite.> “Neither's a Kelbrid stomach,” I answered. They wanted reinforcements? There was one source these idiots seemed to forget about. I looked at Alloran's hologram. “How's the female recruitment program coming?” Alloran was silent for a few moments. Then, he sighed, almost disappointed. <Better than expected, especially among the younger females. The projections say that by the end of the year, we will have increased the size of the fleet by one fourth. It will possibly be doubled by next year.> Tobias and I nodded. These idiots seemed to forget that their women could fight just as well as the men. Especially with the morphing technology, long-range weapons, and all the other fun sciency stuff. The size of your tailblade really didn't mean anything anymore. I think we were slowly succeeding in drilling that through Alloran's head. The others were considerably more resistant, but Alloran had learned a thing or two in his time, and Caysath, the newly-elected leader of the Andalites and a friend of ours, was very open to new things. I liked that about him. A new face appeared among the currently present ones. This one was recognizable by the fact that he was missing a stalk-eye. Asculan-Semitur-Langor, a well-respected Captain-Prince, member of the War Council, and Alloran's son. Pound for pound, probably the guy with the biggest stick to swing here. <My apologies for the lateness of my arrival,> he answered. <The Anati troops we were supposed to meet with sent warning that they had been ambushed by enemy forces and were breaking off their attack on the Mekrao colony. My forces, it seems, are currently available to be sent elsewhere.> We passed the next couple of hours in council with the Andalites, helping them plan where t attack, when, and who should go. It was a big change from the old days when it was just us against the world. Caysath and Alloran respected what we could do and they were forcing the other Andalite military leaders to respect it, too. They were warming up to us, slowly. We were, after all, very good at what we did. There was a secret Tobias and I were keeping, though; something we weren't planning on sharing with anyone, even the other Animorphs. There was a reason why Tobias was so good at planning large-scale campaigns like this. Once, when he nearly died in a Yeerk torture chamber, he somehow gained some of his father's memories. War-Prince Elfangor had been very good at what he did as well, and that experience helped Tobias a great deal. There was a second reason, one considerably darker. Tobias had a Howler morph he used frequently. And Howlers have a collective memory. Stored inside their DNA are the memories of every battle they ever fought and won. Hundreds of campaigns of slaughter against all parts of the galaxy, against all kinds of opponents. From primitive societies to highly-advanced military powers, the Howlers remembered it all. And so did Tobias, when he chose to dip into that pool of experience. Lately, he had been doing that far more often than I was comfortable with. If it was up to him, he'd be morphed right now. I wanted him to stop, but he felt like it was something he had to do. He can be stubborn, sometimes. That'll have to stop before something bad happens, but for now, there isn't much I can do... Eventually, I got frustrated with their stupidity, called Asculan some things I'd regret if I didn't mean them, tucked Gideon into his crib, and went to sleep. I only had to shush the bunch of them twice before they finally quieted down and let me sleep. I don't know what time it was when James knocked on our door. It must have been very late because Tobias had finally hung up and gone to sleep. He didn't wake up when James knocked. He was actually a light sleeper, but lately he was exhausted. “What is it?” I growled. If this wasn't important, I was going to strangle him. “There's someone at the door...um...we should wake Tobias.” “Who's there, James?” I demanded. “Unless it's Guraff himself, I'm going back to sleep.” “Close,” he answered. “It's one of the Apostates.”
Preview Summary

After nine long months of waiting, Rachel is finally back in action again. And just in time too. The Animorphs might be up against their greatest challenge yet: an ancient threat far more destructive than the Yeerks. One that Earth is going to have to deal with very, very soon.

In addition to protecting the world from one of the galaxy's greatest dangers, the Animorphs must help the inexperienced military forces of Earth launch the planet's very first invasion of another world. with more dangers than they've ever experienced before, the Animorphs need Rachel more than ever.