Animorph Quest

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Spencer
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Animorph Quest

Post by Spencer » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:19 am

Cross-posting from the Spacebattles forum.

The Quest format is a type of roleplay that basically takes the form of "Alternamorphs by committee." If you happen to have an account at Spacebattles, you may influence the vote there, but if you don't I'm sorry to say registration is currently closed due to some server issues and an annoyingly persistent spammer posting inappropriate content. Due to the difficulty of counting votes and tracking discussion through multiple communities, the story posts will be cross-posted here for convenience, but no votes will be taken. Treat this here like just another fan-fiction, but also know that the direction it takes is being voted on my a committee of what I can generously describe as a bunch of utter lunatics.
Image
We can’t tell you who we are, or where we live. It’s too risky, and we’ve got to be careful. Really careful. So we don’t trust anyone. Because if we let them find us… well, we just won’t let them find us.

The thing you should know is that everyone is in really big trouble. Yeah. Even you.

Here’s the deal, the world is being invaded. Now I know what you’re thinking, I must be crazy right? Because you looked outside this morning and there definitely weren’t any flying saucers blowing up national landmarks. Well let me tell you something, the Yeerks are more subtle than that. They aren’t running around shooting people with rayguns while yelling “Ack, Ack, Ack!”

They’re slugs.

Parasites.

They crawl into your brain, read your memories, pretend to be you with such perfection that no one can tell the difference. We call them Controllers. The invasion is slow, and by the time anyone has any idea what’s going on it will be too late. They’ll have already subverted our leaders and military from the inside, and the light of human civilization will go out.

The only thing standing in their way is the Andalites… well… and us, but the Andalites aren’t going to be here for a while. So in the meantime, I guess our little group of teenagers are going to have to hold the line.

Under normal circumstances, we’d be totally screwed.

Thankfully, these aren’t normal circumstances. An Andalite Prince named Elfangor managed to break the Yeerk blockade to crash land on Earth. He brought with him a weapon, the Blue Box. He broke the Andalite’s highest law to give me (My name’s Jake by the way; forgot to introduce myself), my best friend Marco, my cousin Rachel, Rachel’s best friend Cassie, this guy Tobias, and… well… you, the power to resist.

Now we can become any animal we touch, any animal. But only for two hours at a time. Exceed that limit and you’re stuck. Forever. So watch the time.

I guess that’s it. Not much more to tell. I guess all I can say is good luck.


When the Animorphs first encountered Elfangor, there were five of them. Now, through a twist of time and fate (and perhaps more) there were six who encountered the dying alien prince from another world.

In case you haven’t guessed yet, you’re lucky number six.
Last edited by Spencer on Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Animorph Quest

Post by Spencer » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:19 am

Last edited by Spencer on Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:10 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Animorph Quest

Post by Spencer » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:20 am

<Character Sheet>

Name: Angela "Annie" Anderson
Age: 13
Gender: Female
Physical Appearance: Mousy. Black hair, dark skin. Small build and quick feet.

Background:
Social pariah: Everyone ignores you, teachers included. You are an outcast even compared to the other outcasts. Practically invisible.

Passive Talent: <Practically Invisible>
So long as you do nothing to draw attention to yourself, people tend to just ignore you. There eyes slide right over you so long as you don't act in a way that is attention grabbing. This makes it remarkably easy to sneak up on people, as well as avoiding pursuit if you can break line of sight.

You blend in easily. Unless someone is looking for you specifically, if you are being chased and manage to break line of sight and enter a crowd, the chase is over, they'll never find you. This effect can be extended to one other person without reducing effectiveness.

<Morphs Acquired>

Andalite (Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul)
Jumping Spider
Ladybug
Corgi
California Red-sided Gartersnake

<Morphs used>
Andalite (Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul) (Partial)

<Morphs Mastered>


<Morph Talents>


Duration: Morph acquisition takes less time. Acquisition trance lasts longer.
Endurance: Chaining morphs one after another is easier and less tiring.
Speed: Morphing takes less time.
Strength: Acquisition trance is stronger. Small chance of target losing consciousness altogether. The higher the rank, the higher the chance.
Will: Wresting control of morphs with difficult instincts is easier.

Duration: ●
Endurance: ●○
Speed: ●●○
Strength: ●
Will: ●●

● - Permanent
○ - Temporary

<Items Acquired>
Morphing Cube

<Relationships>
Jake: Neutral
Marco: Mild antagonism.
Rachel: Agreeable acquaintance.
Cassie: Agreeable acquaintance.
Tobias: Mild respect.
Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul: Respect, budding friendship.
Last edited by Spencer on Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:11 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Animorph Quest

Post by Spencer » Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:03 am

The Invasion
1-1


Your name is Angela. Well, you prefer to be called Annie, but the number of people who call you that can be counted on one hand. The number of people who call you anything at all can be counted on two, and most of them are teachers reading off the roll-call. They don’t call you Annie, because that isn’t the name written down on the list. You’ve never bothered to correct them. If you did that they might notice you, and you’re just fine not getting called on to answer questions you may or may not know the answer to.

Being beneath everyone’s notice does have its downsides. You don’t really have what could be described as friends, or even acquaintances. Making them is kind of difficult when everyone’s eyes simply slide over you, and you can’t really be bothered to be proactive on that front. The downsides might seem unpleasant at first, until one realizes that it also applies to the school bullies as well.

They leave you alone. Not like that poor Tobias kid who seems to attract them wherever he goes. He’s lucky in a way. He’s a boy; basic physical abuse that he could probably free himself of by throwing a punch or two. Not like girl bullies. They tend to be a bit more… psychological. Well, you’ve never had to deal with it, and you’ve even managed to alleviate it for a few others by simply physically obstructing the line of sight. Their eyes slide right over you and move one. No one ever notices.

That fact is one of the reasons you feel so confident whenever you take shortcuts through the abandoned construction site on the way home. Even if there was an axe-murderer hobo living in there like the rumors say, he’d just ignore you as you walked right in front of him. Not that there are any hatchet wielding lunatics living there. That would be silly. The rumors are just that. Rumors.

So you cut through on your way home from the mall after doing some window shopping to kill time, and the fact that it is dark while you’re doing so doesn’t make you nervous at all. In fact, it only makes you feel more confident.

You’ve taken this route more than a few times, the first few times in daylight to memorize where all the potential hazards are, and as such can navigate it well enough to not fall into any of the holes dotting the area or trip over any of the pipes or debris that dot the area. You’ve never run into anyone taking this route before, so imagine your surprise when you happen upon a group of five other teenagers just standing there looking into the sky. They must have left the mall shortly before you did, if they even came from there. You recognize Tobias among the group. He seems to have found a group of friends to run with. Good for him, might mitigate that bully attracting aura he has. The rest of them look vaguely familiar, so they probably go to the same school as you and Tobias, you’ve just never bothered to learn their names.

Curiosity eventually gets the better of you, and you look up as well.

What you see is a light, reminiscent of low flying planes when they fly over the city and its getting closer and that’s not an airplane.

The descending craft has a bulbous cockpit at the head of an ovular body, nacelles extending from that body’s midpoint in a manner vaguely reminiscent of Star Trek ships. At the rear, arching over the body is a protrusion that is very similar to that of a scorpion’s tail, tapering off to a mean looking point. If that isn’t a weapon you will walk right back to the mall to buy a hat so you can eat it.

“It’s a flying saucer!” blurted out one of the kids. You could hear her, even at this distance. You had to hold back the laughter. First off, it didn’t even remotely resemble a disk, but after a moment’s thought you realized the statement was more metaphorical than anything else. The conclusion of “that is not a human craft,” might not have been one you’d naturally come to, but it is one that you could see being made.

The group of teens are now conversing at a level that is too quiet for you to hear without getting closer to them, and like you, they are also stubbornly refusing to run away from the strange craft that is blatantly heading straight towards you.

As you approach, still unseen, you hear one of the boys say “If we run, the might… I don’t know, zap us with phasers on full power.”

“Phasers are only on Star Trek,” his shorter friend said flippantly. That may be, but whatever that weapon did, it likely still made you just as dead if you were hit with it. “What do you think it is?” he asked the others.

“I think it’s going to land,” Tobias spoke for the first time you’d seen. You were standing literally two feet from the rest of them, and they still hadn’t noticed you. It was actually kind of amusing.

You choose that moment to speak up, “Probably,” you agree.

And every single one of them nearly jumps out of their skins.

“Are you insane!? Don’t do that!” the shorter boy says when he finally recovers, the descending craft temporarily forgotten. Everyone is looking at you now, and it is a very odd thing to be on the end of this kind of thing for once. Feels almost… wrong, somehow.

"Aww" the blond girl teases, "Did big strong Marco get scared?"

“I thought she was that chainsaw-murder who supposedly lives here!"

Huh, apparently the rumor mill had upgraded the weapon to chainsaw.

"Who the heck are you?” the one apparently called Marco demands.

“Annie,” you say, as if that explains everything, “from school,” like that explains everything else. Tobias gives you an odd appraising look, like he’s trying to remember you, feels like he should, but can’t.

“Right,” the taller boy says, now staring back at the rapidly descending craft. “I’m Jake then.”

Social conditioning kicks in and the others absentmindedly introduce themselves as the scorpion ship comes in for a landing.

The shorter boy is of course Marco, the blond girl is Rachel, her friend is Cassie, and Tobias introduces himself as well even though you already know his name.

By the time introductions are complete, the ship has gently glided to a halt in the clear area before you. It hovers about two inches off the ground before sparks snap across the nacelles and it falls to the ground.

“Do you think they speak English?” Jake asks.

You’re still not convinced the ship is alien.

“Well, everyone speaks English on Star Trek” Cassie said, laughing nervously.

Tobias tried calling to the ship, “Please, come out. We won’t hurt you.”

As if we could.

<I know.>

And just like that you’re convinced. Aliens exist. They have telepathy. If they’re hostile Earth is boned. Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

“Oh hell,” you mutter.

“Did anyone else hear that?” Tobias asked.

Can’t answer. Too busy panicking over telepathy aliens.

“Can you come out?” he asked.

<Yes. Do not be frightened.>

“Too late,” you mumble.

“Ditto,” Marco breathed.

A thin arc of light appeared along the side of the ship, quickly spreading out into a doorway backlight by white light. And that’s the moment you saw your first alien.

Rubber forehead alien he was not.

First reaction? Centaur.

Second reaction? Blue centaur.

And then you notice the details. No mouth, additional set of eyes on stalks, and the tail. Corded with muscle and tipped with a blade at the end. If he got close he could kill every single one of you faster than you could blink.

Also, he was burned all along his right side. Badly. Blood, or something like blood was seeping from the wounds. You were no doctor, but if his physiology was anything like a human’s, he was dying.

<Hello,> the alien said in your head again, and then stumbled.

“He’s hurt!” Cassie yelped.

<Yes. I’m dying.> He confirmed.

The burns covered almost half his body, there was no way he was going to make it without dedicated medical assistance, and you doubted that anything like that could be found on Earth.

“You can’t die!” Jake shouted, “You’re the first alien ever to come to Earth. You can’t die.”

<I am not the first. There are many, many others.>

That sends a chill down your spine.

“Other aliens? Like you?” Tobias asks.

<No. Not like me.>

Oh god.

<They are different.>

No. No no no.

<They have come to destroy you.>



Hell.

In the silence that follows, you are the first to find your voice.

“How bad is it?”

<Worse than you’d hope, better than you feared.>

Well that was decidedly unhelpful.

<They are called Yeerks. They are… parasites… they are…>

An image pops into your head; what appears to be something very similar to a snail without its shell. Presumably, this is a Yeerk.

<They enter the brain through the ear canal. They access the memory centers, motor control, the entire brain. They take control, and they pretend to be you. They are infiltrating your world at all levels. And by the time anyone of importance realizes what is going on, it is too late.>

You quickly figure out where he’s going with this. You could go public, or try to, but either no one would believe you (Ha! Why would they?), or the Yeerks would find out and silence you, either through death… or worse.

So if there is no hope, why tell you anything at all? Why even bother?

<There is a way. You can fight.>

“Great, we’ll get it to the military and we can…” Marco began.

<No. There is a way for you to fight.>

You don’t like where he’s going with this.

“We can’t.” Cassie protests, “We’re just kids!”

<You are all that there is.>

Lights flash overhead before he can elaborate. It seems that his enemies have come looking for him.

<There is no time. Inside my ship, there is a box. A glowing blue cube. I need one of you to retrieve it.>

By some unspoken agreement, Jake left the group to grab the box, while the rest of you gathered around the dying alien. Tobias knelt by his unburned side. “It’s going to be alright,” he assures.

When Jake returns, the alien takes the cube in his unburned hand and holds it out to the group.

<Touch the cube, and receive a power like you have never known. The power to assume the shape of any animal you touch. Simply touch the animal and focus on it to acquire its DNA, then concentrate on the form to assume its shape.>

Tobias reaches out and touches the cube without hesitation. After a moment, the rest of the group does as well. You are the last to touch the cube. You never agreed to this. You never asked to have the weight of the world dropped on your shoulders. But the dying alien is offering you a super power, and you’re not turning that down.

<There are risks, dangers, but you will have to figure those out on your own, there is no time. But there is one thing you must know, never remain in morph for more than two of your Earth hours. If you do, you will remain trapped in that form forever.>

You feel a jolt, a tingling of something like electricity running up your arm.

<You have it now. You do not need to defeat the Yeerks, only delay them. My people, the Andalites, are coming.> He never breaks eye contact with his main eyes, but his stalk eyes look up at the approaching lights, <You should go.>

That sounds like a remarkably good idea.
Last edited by Spencer on Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Animorph Quest

Post by Spencer » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:42 am

The invasion
1-2


<You should go.>

The words echo in your mind even after he’s done saying them, a rather odd effect when dealing with a type of communication that was mental in the first place.

The others heed his words almost immediately, heading away to hide behind barriers of concrete and rubble at the edge of the landing site. Tobias and you are the only ones who stay behind, and Tobias is staring at him as if in deep thought, or perhaps some kind of private communication. This only lasts a moment though, and then he retreats as well. The fact that he stayed when the others left has generated some small measure of respect though.

You are now left alone with the dying alien.

“I never got your name,” you say, perfectly aware of the ticking clock you’re on. But you can’t just leave him alone to die like this. You aren’t going to let him sacrifice himself to the brain stealing aliens. He may very well intend to die here, but what we want and what happens are usually never the same thing.

<Elfangor. War-Prince Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul. Please… you have to run…>

“No.” You say, “not without you.”

You place your hand on his chest, one of the few unburned areas so as to minimize any extra pain you might cause, and you focus. He might be an alien, but you can’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t work on him. So you begin to acquire him, because you have a plan.

<What are… I don’t understand.>

He’s entered some kind of trance like state, and for a moment you panic, worried that he might lose consciousness and render your plan worthless. Still, you push on and focus on becoming Elfangor. Your face is the first to go, your nose melting back into your face, becoming a bump with some vertical slits instead. Twin stalks sprout from your head and your vision doubles. The worst part is when your mouth disappears. You’re going to have to learn telepathy on the fly then. <Morph something, anything small. Get away,> you think at him. He drunkenly nods so apparently he heard you. He doesn’t start properly morphing, his features just seem to start running a little.

Elfangor recovers from his trance state after about ten seconds and looks at you with what you can only assume is the Andalite equivalent of shock as his form stops shifting. <What are you doing?>

<I will lead the Yeerks away from you> you say, and his eyes widen further.

The morph is progressing quickly, and at this point you look like a furry blue human. Belatedly, you realize this morph is probably going to shred your pants once the extra legs grow in.

<I can’t… you can’t do this. You will be killed.>

<Better I be killed and you escape than the other way around. We’re kids. You’re a War-Prince. It’s math.> You can read the expressions in his eyes, despite the inhuman face, the eyes seem… so very human. You read defiance and desperation. <If you don’t morph now the Yeerks will get their hands on two of us.>

<You cannot…> he’s no longer morphing. You refuse to stop. The changes are accelerating. Two legs burst out of your stomach and you nearly lose your balance.

<You are sending six children to fight a war! You don’t just get to commit suicide and leave us alone!> He visibly flinches at those words, <Time is running out. We both run or we both get caught.> The lights are closer now, but they still haven’t landed. They will any minute though. <Choose!>

<Stop… Stop.> He begins melting. His burns begin to fade, and he begins to shrink. He is much faster than you are. <Return to your human form. I will morph.>

You reverse the morph, grateful that he stopped you before the extra legs got too big and you became too centaury for your clothes. You were still mostly human shaped, and you’re fully back to human by the time Elfangor is half-way morphed. It only takes about thirty seconds for him to shrink to a size that you can carry. You scoop up the tiny six legged creature he has become as well as the morphing cube which is shoved into your sweatshirt pocket and charge behind the concrete barrier the others were hiding behind.

Marco is staring at you with a mix of awe, fear, and maybe wonder, “Did you just emotionally blackmail the Alien War-Prince!?” He hisses.

Huh. You suppose you did.

You look down at said Alien War-Prince. He doesn’t look so fearsome now as he finishes his morph. He actually looks pretty cute for something with so many legs.

You get ready to make a run for it before the other ships can land, but Elfangor interjects.

<Wait. If we get much farther I will not be able to communicate with my ship.>

“Why would you need to…” you begin.

<To do this,> he explains. The door seals shut, seemingly on its own. Some kind of telepathic command likely. <And this.> Nothing happens.

“What did he do?” Jake asks.

<You should run now. Very quickly.>

The urgency in his tone tells you that something bad is probably about to happen, and you all scatter towards the various ways out of the abandoned construction site. You don’t see the other alien ships land. You never see them leave their ships to investigate the area. But you do hear the explosion, and the concussive wave of force knocks you to your knees.

And then the most horrendous scream tears through your mind. You’d fall to your knees if you weren’t already on them.

<Do you think you can kill me this easily Andalite scum!? Coward!>

“Who the hell is that?” You ask as you get back up and keep running, the morphed Elfangor held tightly in your arms.

<Visser 3. The only Andalite to ever be taken by a Yeerk. The only other morph capable host.>

There are no questions to ask after that. You just keep running. And running. And running.

You don’t even remember picking a direction, but you eventually manage to find your way home. You very nearly run in the front door before you remember you’re carrying an alien. Instead you back away and run to the side of the house. You point Elfangor up to the second floor and show him your window.

“Can you make it up there on your own?” you ask.

<This morph is an acceptable climber. I can.>

You release him and watch as he scurries up the side of the house, and then hangs patiently at the window sill.

Sighing with relief, you trudge back to the front door and go inside.

You make your way inside, down the main hallway and past the living room. Dad is sitting in his recliner watching some sports related something or other, and doesn’t look up as you pass.

“Dinner’s in the fridge,” he says as you pass the kitchen though, meaning he did notice you coming home. You spend enough time hanging out at the mall until closing that coming home late isn’t that odd.

You decide to grab something, feeling a little hungry and when you open the door you find out that “dinner” seems to have been Chinese takeout. You grab the carton of noodles, and then hesitate. What do aliens eat? How would he eat without a mouth? His morph has a mouth though, so you grab the fried pork as well, and then tear off a sizable chunk from the head of lettuce just to be safe. You heat the food, shifting your weight impatiently between your feet, nearly hopping until the microwave beeps. You grab the food, grab a couple of forks, and hightail it upstairs as quickly as you can without causing an undue amount of noise. You leave the food on your desk and rush over to the window. You carefully open it, and Elfangor skitters into your room.

<What caused the delay?> he asked.

“I wanted to get you something to eat and didn’t know what aliens eat. So I got… um noodles, which are made from grain… uh, meat fried in oil, and that vegetable,” you say, pointing to the lettuce leaves.

His response is an amused laugh, which is a rather disconcerting experience coming from inside your own head. <That was very kind of you. But I’m fine for now, though I may eat the lettuce leaves later.>

“How did you know what they were called?”

<This is not the first time I have been to Earth. But that is a story for another time. You should get some rest, and I should go-> that’s about as far as he gets before the sound of police sirens rise in the distance. You go over to your window and lean out, looking to the right towards the street. You can’t see any lights from here, but the sounds are coming from the direction of the construction site. And you can see more than a few patrol cars without their lights on driving through the streets. It doesn’t take too long to come to the conclusion that there are Yeerks driving those cars.

“Yeah, you aren’t going anywhere. You’re staying here tonight.”

<I am not sure that is the best idea.>

“Look, mom and dad leave early on Saturdays. Dad has to work and mom gets an early start on her errands. I don’t have any siblings; we’ll have the place to ourselves. This is the safest place you can be right now.”

The tiny creature nods grudgingly, how it does so you aren’t entirely sure. Then he begins returning to his real form. You place the lettuce leaves on the night stand for him before eating the food you brought up. You only manage to eat a little bit before you just aren’t feeling hungry anymore. Whether it’s because you just can’t handle takeout right now or because of the whole alien invasion ordeal you can’t really tell. You go back downstairs and leave the leftovers in the fridge before heading back up.

When you get back, you find Elfangor has dropped one of the lettuce leaves on the floor and is crushing it with one of his hooves. The image is so ridiculous that you find yourself giggling. And you kind of don’t stop. Elfangor looks at you with concern, and you just keep laughing quietly to yourself. You continue to do so as you pull your pajamas out of one of your drawers. Then you look at Elfangor, then back to your pajamas, and giggle a little harder as you realize this is the first time you’ve had a boy in your room and this is not at all how you wanted to achieve that milestone.

For instance, you’d hope the boy would have had the decency to at least have a mouth. Because reasons.

You manage to get yourself a little bit under control as you walk into your closet and shut the door to change. Yeah, he’s an alien, and he doesn’t wear clothes, but you still aren’t changing in front of him. As you pull off your sweatshirt, you remove the glowing blow cube from the pocket and look at it. Then you wrap it back up and shove it to the back of the top shelf. Not the best hiding place, but it’s the best you can do right now.

You come out, now wearing your fuzzy and warm pajamas and wielding the spare comforter and pillow from the closet. You hand them to him, and point to the side of the bad that is on the opposite side of the room from the door, just in case mom or dad decide to peak in on you at night. You never know, parents are weird like that.

Honestly, you’d rather just spend all night grilling the alien about… well… everything… but you nearly died tonight, and you’re absolutely exhausted. So it is time for bed, and you will brook no argument.

<I never got your name either.>

As you snuggle underneath the warm blankets, you mumble, “Annie. Now go to sleep.”

The last thing you hear before drifting off is, <Thank you Annie… for a third chance.>

Whatever that means.

User avatar
Spencer
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Favourite Animorph: Marco
Location: Right behind you.

Re: Animorph Quest

Post by Spencer » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:50 pm

The Invasion
1-3


You slept well last night. Considering the fact that you came closer to death than you ever have before, that’s kind of surprising. You expected night terrors, or at minimum unsettling dreams. Instead, your sleep was blessedly dreamless. That fact alone had you thinking that all of last night must have been the dream then, and that you just imagined the whole thing. That notion came crashing down when you awoke to see the alien fiddling with your computer.

Real.

All of it was real.

You had super powers, the world was being invaded by brain stealing slugs, and there was an alien in your bedroom.

In less than a second you went from lying down to sitting straight up, staring at the remains of your precious desktop. Pieces and wires were strewn everywhere, the case was lying on the ground by your desk, and the inside was now glowing blue. You are pretty sure it’s not supposed to be doing that.

In fact, looking around, most of the electronics in your room have been cannibalized for parts. Your mp3 player is completely dismantled, as is the DVD player. The only things left untouched were the TV hanging on the wall and the phone charging on the night stand.

“My stuff,” you complain, your voice cracking in sorrow. “What do you think you’re doing?”

<Upgrading. I’m making this terminal secure and capable of accepting thought-speak commands. I already broke the biggest law my people have by giving you the power to morph, there isn’t any reason to hold out now.>

Any further complaints die right there. You aren’t going to complain about sacrificing a few unimportant things if it means getting a telepathy computer.

<It’s nice to know Bill stuck to the icon systems I suggested the first time I was here. I was worried he might have found some ridiculous and confusing branch of interface architecture to move on to. Humanity has, for once, remained sensible> he grumbles.

“What.” you say. “Bill... Bill ‘Founder of Microsoft’ Gates?”

<Hmm? Yes. I worked in his company during my early years on Earth. I was the one who helped him abandon the ridiculous text prompt system he’d been using.>

And that explains how Microsoft came to dominate the PC market. He had help from the aliens. You’d ask about the pyramids, but you actually think you’d feel better with the illusion of human achievement intact. All those ‘Ancient Aliens’ episodes you scoffed at your dad watching don’t seem quite so ridiculous now do they?

You reach over and grab your phone off the nightstand and check the display. It reads 9:34 am. Your parents will be long gone by now, and if they maintain old habits mom will be back at around 2pm, and dad will be home at around 6:30.

So you have in the neighborhood of four hours to get Elfangor a better hiding spot, presumably a better place to leave the cube as well. You don’t want to imagine how bad it would be if your parents actually found it. That wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t Yeerk infested, but realistically you have no way of knowing either way. Elfangor might have a way to tell, and you make a note to ask him about it later.

Anger wells up within you at the very thought of your parents being trapped inside their own heads. That your dad might not be your dad, that your mom might be begging the parasite in her head to leave her daughter alone, that she won’t resist if they’ll just leave you out of it. You grind your teeth and squeeze your eyes shut, shoving the emotions down to deal with later. There is nothing you can do about it now. The best thing you can do is figure out how to win this war as quickly as possible. If that isn’t possible without Andalite help, then you need to figure out how to make them hurt. To slow them down and keep them occupied.

The realization that you are possibly the only resistance on the planet, and that said resistance is made up of a single alien commander and six teenagers does not inspire optimism.

You get out of bed and rummage through your clothes drawers. As you start putting an outfit together you ask Elfangor a question, “is it possible to morph clothes?” You remember the incident of your first morph, of your shirt loosening as your torso became masculine, your pants tightening as you grew closer to centaurhood.

He seems to hesitate for a moment before answering, <I didn’t experiment much… but I was only ever able to manage something skin tight with my human morph.>

Wait… if he had a human morph… “If you had a human morph, why didn’t you use that?”

<Self-aware species become… suggestible under the acquisition trance. You told me to morph something small. I chose the Djabala, and didn’t think it wise to reverse the morph. Even if I had, I… circumstances beyond my control have rendered that morph inaccessible. It’s not something you will ever have to worry about in your own career… I hope.>

That’s not ominous at all.

“So you’ll need a new human morph if we’re to go out in public?”

<Ah. Yes. I suppose it would be wise for me to find a better place to hide than your bedroom. Human parents generally react poorly to finding an alien in their daughter’s living space.>

Oddly specific.

“Is there a story there?”

<I just know humans… and… perhaps. Someday.>

You go back to your outfit selection and are rather annoyed at the complete lack of skin tight clothing for once. Sweatshirts over t-shirts and comfortable jeans are your preferred clothing. Literally the only piece of skin tight anything is… that one piece swimsuit hiding in the back of the top drawer for those rare summer beach trips.

You regret never having taken any sort of gymnastics course. At least then you’d have a full coverage leotard instead of the navy blue swimsuit. You’ll wear that under your clothes for now when you practice today, but you make another note to save your allowance and get a proper morphing uniform. Something sensible, tough, and above all warm. The first thing you can think of for that is wetsuits; you’ll need to set aside a fund.

You grab the swim wear and some clothes, and then after thinking a moment, grab a second set as well as two sweatshirts.

The second set of clothes is set on the ground by Elfangor, who looks up at you with a bit of confusion.

“I was thinking of finding the others from last night and comparing notes, getting us all together so we can talk about what to do next, and in order to do that you’ll need a human morph to travel around in.” Understanding dawns as he realizes what you’re suggesting. “I have a ‘you’ morph, so it’s only fair really, at least until we can get you a better one.”

He nods, not saying anything, and you hold out your hand for him to take. He takes your hand, and you notice that he has seven fingers instead of the human five. He must be an insane typist. Your thoughts drift and your eyes droop as he acquires you, and you remain in that half-awake state for a bit before coming out of it. The trance is actually kind of disturbing, and you imagine that it must be very similar to what hypnosis might feel like. It just seems to suck away your agency. Thankfully, it probably isn’t something you’ll have to go through again.

That done, you take your own pile of clothes and leave to take a shower, leaving Elfangor to finish his own morph. Given the two hour limit, he won’t morph you until it’s time to leave. In the bathroom, you encounter a jumping spider sitting on counter and decide to acquire the thing instead of crushing it to death like you usually would. You manage to get the jump on it (ha!) and brush it into you left hand where it immediately goes slack. You leave the bathroom and toss it out the nearest window once you’re done; truly you are a gracious overlord.

You opt not to try it out immediately, and just take your shower instead. When you come out half an hour later, you feel much more human, an irony considering the animal and alien DNA now floating in your blood.

You check in on Elfangor, who says he’ll be done working in fifteen minutes or so, he needs to set up a secure network so he can access your improved computer remotely. You head to the back yard to see if there’s anything else worth acquiring there. You wind up with a ladybug morph, and then you lure your neighbor’s corgi over to the fence with some of the fried pork from last night. You acquire her too. After chasing it around for five minutes, the last morph you manage to get is a garter snake.

This eats up the last of the time spent waiting on Elfangor near perfectly, and you only have to wait a few more minutes before you hear footsteps slowly descending the stairs. When the figure arrives, you get to experience the rather surreal scene of looking at yourself. The sweatshirt hood isn’t up, and the hair is hanging loose rather than the ponytail you have yours in. The lack of any make up at all serves as another point of differentiation. It isn’t much of a difference, considering how little you yourself wear, but it’s nearly enough that people won’t look twice beyond ‘oh hey twins.’

Elfangor hands you your phone, which he (she?) must have grabbed for you. You also notice the cubic protrusion from the sweatshirt’s front pocket. Yeah, back of the closet was not the best hiding spot. You check the time, then set an alarm for an hour and a half from now, and start to set more when Elfangor stops you, “There is no need to watch the time. Andalites have a natural ability to accurately track the passage of time. I know when I’ll need to demorph.”

It’s momentarily surprising that he’s taken to human speech so quickly, but then again you figured out his ‘thought speech’ pretty damned fast yourself, and he has been human before. It handily explains how he knew how to ‘speak’ English when he landed.

At that point though, your cheeks heat up with embarrassment when you realize you don’t actually know where to find any of the others from last night. You’ve no idea where any of them live… at all. You smack your forehead as the realization hits you, and you look at Elfangor with reluctance, “ah… I just realized I don’t know where to find them. I kind of… pretty much met them for the first time last night.”

Oops.

Elfangor gives you a flat look.

“Just hold on a minute…” you open up an app on your phone for whatever social networking site happens to be popular this year, and type some names into the search for the school network. You find them pretty quickly, and spend the next ten minutes shooting off friend requests and browsing profiles which are mostly set to private. Tobias, not too surprisingly, doesn’t have any kind of account at all that you can find. All you learn is that Jake is apparently a basketball player, Marco is way too fond of terrible puns, and Cassie’s parents own some kind of animal clinic. A quick search shows that the “clinic” is really just their family barn. You easily find the address and plot out a route. It’ll take twenty minutes to get close by bus with another twenty minutes of walking. Plenty of time. Hopefully she’ll still be there.

“Okay,” you say, “for real this time, we’ll be at Cassie’s house in about forty minutes.”

Elfangor nods, “Good. Finding out you are all unharmed would make me feel much better.”

You can’t keep calling him Elfangor, even in your head… not when he looks like you.

You say as much.

“When I was first on Earth, I took the name Alan Fangor,”

You snicker at that. It’s just… so terrible.

“Subtle,” you manage to get out. “I could call you Elly when you’re like this?”

“Elly works for now… though the sooner I can find something… older… and male… the more content I will be.”

“Might want to stick with a teen morph. Won’t look as odd when you inevitably have to hang out with us.”

‘Elly’ doesn’t look too happy at the prospect of a teenaged morph, but the logic is kind of undeniable.

You lock your elbow with his (an odd notion thinking of someone outwardly female as ‘he’) as you leave the house, heading towards the nearest bus stop.

*****

The bus ride is uneventful for the most part, Elly stares out the window the whole trip, and when you asked what he was looking at, he said he was taking in how human society has changed in the last thirteen years. That little tidbit of information gives you a lot to think about, the implications are enough to tell you just how long he lived among humans. If you remember anything about computer history right, that means he spent around a decade on Earth before leaving. Ten years of pretending to be human.

That was a very long time to spend among a completely different species. Idly, you wonder how he managed it without ever getting caught.

The bus line takes you to the outskirts of the city, literally the second to last stop before the end of the route, and the closest stop to Cassie’s house.

You and Elly are the only ones even on the bus at that point, and you exit silently as the bus drives away. You begin the walk out towards your destination, trying to think of something to talk to Elfangor about so you don’t have to endure another awkward silence again. You are rather terrible at figuring out conversation starters, you’ve never really had the practice.

After fumbling around for anything to talk about, you finally settle on, “so… evil aliens huh? What’s up with that?”

Smooth.

“I’d rather wait until you were all together for the detailed information, but… I don’t see any reason why I couldn’t share the basics now. You are undoubtedly very curious.” You nod, and Elly continues. “Yeerks are slug-like parasites, as I explained earlier, able to enter the brain, usually through the ear, and take over the body. They can read your memories and pretend to be you so perfectly that no one realizes what is happening before it’s too late. The disguise isn’t quite perfect, most Yeerks are more than a little arrogant and that tends to shine through. Though they tend to be very careful when they first take a host, so it looks like a natural over-time personality change. It’s a much more reasonable explanation for the average human than brain stealing parasites from space.”

“So we know there are human hosts, and a Andalite host, if they’re space travelling there must have been others.”

“The two most common that you will have to deal with are Taxxons and Hork-Bajir. Taxxons are like giant centipedes with razor sharp teeth and many lobster-like claws. They are eternally hungry and will tear into you if they can get a hold of you, but they are also fragile and cannibalistic. They will turn on each other if one is wounded. Even the Yeerks cannot resist the insatiable hunger of the host. I know from experience how overpowering it can be.”

Elly’s voice is pained now, as if reliving some rather bad memories. You know that isn’t uncommon for people who spend a lot of time fighting a war. You don’t know if Andalites have an equivalent to PTSD, but if they do Elfangor probably has it. You grab onto his hand reassuringly, trying to send some measure of comfort. He doesn’t seem to acknowledge the gesture, but he doesn’t reject it either.

“The others are Hork-Bajir. They would be ideal hosts if not for their low numbers and slow rate of reproduction. Despite their fearsome appearance, they were a kind and gentle people. The Yeerk’s saw them only as weapons. Tall, with tough leathery skin, and covered in blades. They are ideal shock troops. The number of Hork-Bajir hosts number in the thousands only. Their entire race is enslaved. It was one of our greatest losses that we could not save them.” He pauses for a moment, “I thought that giving you and your friends the morphing power would be the most I could do to ensure that humanity would not suffer the same fate. I suppose I was wrong. The reason the Yeerks want your people is mostly your numbers. You are one of the most numerous species in the known galaxy, and as far as I know the only one that exists in such numbers, are suitable Yeerk hosts, and are incapable of resisting conventionally.”

You grin at that, as you remember just how horrifying fighting guerillas can be. You studied the Vietnam War a bit in history class earlier this year, and it was shocking just how positively tenacious the Vietcong had been in defending their homes. “We’ll just have to fight them unconventionally then.”

Elly sighs, “That is one place I know where humans excel. You have a tendency to do things either completely backwards or in ways no one would expect.”

“Like what?” you ask.

“Well for example, you invented the book before you invented the computer. Ridiculous!”

You stop walking.

No.

That is not.

No.

“How do you even?” you ask.

How do they even!?

The rest of the walk is taken up by Elly espousing the merit of the book over the computer, about how it requires no processing power or power source beyond your own hands, how you can view a page from a book instantly, while retrieving something over a network can take several seconds.

Your brain refuses all of this, and you still refuse to believe his people invented the book second.

No, he is messing with you, surely.

That conversation blessedly comes to a halt as you approach Cassie’s house, and you knock on the door while Elly hangs back, with the hood on the sweatshirt pulled up.

The door opens to reveal who you can only assume is Cassie’s mother, and you hope Cassie is in or this is going to get a little awkward.

“Hi…” you start, “We’re here to see Cassie?”

The woman gives you a pitying look and says, “How’d she rope you in?”

That at least confirms she’s probably here.

“She’s persuasive?” You make it sound less like a question and more like a joke, if only barely. It does earn a chuckle at least.

“Out in the barn out back, just knock before you go in just in case the animals aren’t all tied down. Shovels are in the shed by the barn.”

You nod, despite having no idea what she’s talking about, and nod back to Elly as the door closes, “Come on Elly,” you say, and the two of you head for the barn.

You make your way back to the barn, and knock three times.

There isn’t any answer, so you try again.

You’re about to just give up and leave when you hear a muted “Just a second!”

It’s actually closer to a minute before the barn door slides open and you recognize the dark-skinned girl from last night. She’s wearing a leotard.

It’s not hard to guess what she’s been doing in there. It’s good to know you aren’t the only one serious about this.

She looks you up and down, trying to place your face. It was dark last night, it’s understandable.

“Annie,” you supply.

Her eyes widen in recognition and oh god too tight! The hug is both unexpected and more akin to tackle than a token of affection.

“Can’t. Breathe.”

She lets you go, “Sorry, I’m just so glad you’re okay,” Then she notices who’s standing behind you, “Who’s that?”

“Cassie, meet Elly. Elly, you remember Cassie.”

“Hello again,” Elly supplies, lowering the hood.

Cassie looks at you, then at Elly, then back at you, then back at Elly… then back at you again… and then she figures it out.

“You’re not dead!” She cries, and this time it is an actual tackle.

*****

The three of you take up residence inside the barn, closing the door behind you. Elfangor opts to demorph at that point, moving behind a stack of hay bales so he doesn’t ruin the clothes you lent him.

“I called Rachel,” Cassie explains, “She’ll be by in a few hours. She called Jake and he says the boys will all be here around the same time.”

Elfangor comes back from around the bales at that time, and sets the borrowed clothes beside you. <I’ll be able to acquire some male DNA then.>

You can practically hear the mental sigh of relief. You aren’t insulted, “it’s understandable to want to maintain your own gender, however inferior it might be,” you joke.

<Hmm> is the only response you get from him.

Cassie high fives you with a small cheer of “Girl power! Rachel would be proud.”

It takes another hour of waiting, in which time you spend helping Cassie with her morning chores, shoveling animal waste into a wheelbarrow and dumping it out back. You now realize that this is the thing Cassie’s mom was talking about. With the two of you, Elfangor opting to remain Andalite and thus ‘unsuitable to help’, you manage to finish the job before the others show up.

When they do, you admit them into the barn after cracking the door open to confirm their identities, and all of them take a seat.

Elfangor had hidden again in the interim, just in case someone showed up who wasn’t supposed to.

This is the first time you’ve all been together since last night, and the room falls dead silent as Elfangor reveals himself to you all again.

<Hello again. I failed to introduce myself properly last night, as time was simply too short. My name is Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul, War-Prince of the Andalite Interstellar Fleet, and I need your help to save the world.>

User avatar
Spencer
Rampant AI
Rampant AI
Posts: 1837
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:53 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Favourite Animorph: Marco
Location: Right behind you.

Re: Animorph Quest

Post by Spencer » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:10 pm

The Invasion
1-4


Marco is the first to speak up, “Well. There go my happy delusions. Anyone else panicking? I’m going to start panicking.”

“Shut up Marco,” Rachel shot back.

“No, I don’t think I will. I’m sorry, but you don’t seem to realize how insane this is. The world is upside down! Aliens are real! They’re invading! Dogs and cats are living together! The world has gone mad!”

Rachel kicks him in the shin, and you find yourself nodding in approval.

“Ow! Ow!”

“You done?” you ask.

He glares at the two of you, but says nothing further. You sit back to allow Elfangor to continue.

<I am sorry for forcing you into this situation. At the time it seemed like the only solution to a problem that never should have existed in the first place.>

“So why us?” Tobias asked

“Besides the fact that we were there?” Marco clarified.

<Individuals of your age are low priority hosts for the Yeerks. They prefer mature hosts, and tend to underestimate the abilities of adolescents. That doesn’t mean that there are no controllers your age or younger, it just means they are relatively few compared to adult controllers.>

Jake appeared to think on that, and came to an interesting conclusion, “They’d focus on positions of power wouldn’t they? That means we can’t just got to the police or the military. The Yeerks would have a mole somewhere in there, and we’d be caught.”

“And without the box we can’t exactly make more of us, even if we were sure they weren’t Controllers,” Rachel noted.

“About that,” you say, pulling the cube from the folds of the sweatshirt at your feet. You lightly toss it, catching it with your other hand, before tossing it again and repeating the process. “We aren’t just stuck with the seven of us. If we can guarantee that someone isn’t a controller, we can recruit more.”

<Yeerks must leave their hosts every three days to feed in the Yeerk pool by absorbing Kandrona radiation. Any human who does not visit the pool over the course of three days cannot be infested.>

“Is there anyone the Yeerks just flat out wouldn’t want?” Marco asked. “Because I’m all for recruiting my replacement.”

<Permanently crippled hosts. Yeerks are drawn to hosts because of the senses they are afforded. To have a host that is deficient in some way worse than being demoted to a Gedd host. Even then, that is no real guarantee if the individual has any amount of mobility or autonomy. You would want individuals sequestered and unable to make a trip to the Yeerk pool.>

“Oh, fantastic,” Marco quipped, “Hospitals or prisons… tough call, tough call.”

<You will not fight for your world?>

“Look, I sympathize, I do. World’s under attack and for some inane reason you actually care. Good for you. Thanks for the super powers, I’m sure they’ll come in handy someday, only reason I took them is I was pretty sure I was hallucinating at the time. I didn’t sign up to fight a war. If anything happened to me… it would break my dad. I can’t do that to him. Not after mom.”

<And what do you think the Yeerks will if they go unopposed?>

“They aren’t. You’re here. Good luck.” Marco made to get up, and Elfangor stepped forward.

<The first thing they will do is put a Yeerk in the head of every person in a position of power. Once this is done and Earth is ready for harvest, they will pull in Pool ships from areas of their galactic campaign whether they can be sparred or not, Earth is that great a prize. They will position these pool ships above each major population center. Any resistance that isn’t intercepted by their controllers will be met with orbital bombardment. Humans will be herded to pools carved into the landscape by dracon cannons or to landing Pool ships and forced to accept infestation. Even if 70% of humans are annihilated in the rebellion purges, the Yeerks will still be able to host every unhosted Yeerk in the galaxy, and have a steady supply of extras. Every single asset we have will need to be put to use if we are to hope to slow them down until the Andalite fleet can arrive and provide aide. The only thing that stands between humanity and the death of everything your species has achieved are the individuals standing in this room.>

Marco sat back down with a thud and swore.

<I’m sorry. But you are a soldier now in this war.>

Marco… Marco definitely looked angry. Angry at Elfangor certainly.

“Don’t be mad at him,” you say, “he gave you a chance. It’s more than the Yeerks ever would. Besides, Elfangor’s wrong, this isn’t a war.” Elfangor tilts his head at you, questioning, “It’s a resistance. We fight like the Taliban, or the Vietcong. We blow up their facilities; we deny them what they need. We aren’t trying to win; we’re trying to make them realize we’re more trouble than we’re worth. We make it so they can’t look at a spider and not panic in paranoia.”

“Yes,” Rachel agreed, “I like this plan; I can get behind this plan. We hit them where they live.”

“We can’t sit and do nothing, I’m done living my life doing nothing,” Tobias chipped in, “You need our help?” He asked Elfangor, “you have mine.”

Jake looked over at Marco, “Can you honestly tell me you could walk away from this? What if they fail without us? We’ll always be asking ourselves if we could have tipped the balance.”

Marco closed his eyes, thinking, murmuring beneath his breath. His fingers twitched, as if he was mapping dots on a board only he was aware of. Finally, he opened his eyes and looked at Elfangor, “How long? How long until the rest of you guys show up to bail us out?”

<The absolute best case scenario is one year if Z-Space is kind. Worst case is closer to five, perhaps six. The most likely is between two and four years.>

“… I’m in, but we’re doing this intelligently. No suicide missions, no stupid risks. I’ll help with this little resistance, but I’m not going to war.”

<I would not ask for more.>

“Five kids and a blue centaur alien against the evil galactic empire,” Marco responded, “well… I’m confident.”

“We’ll need a plan,” Jake said, “We can’t just wing something like this. We need to be prepared.”

“The Gardens,” Cassie supplied, “My mom works there, and I can probably bluff us into the back areas, but there are some really good animals there. A gorilla, tigers, elephants… All sorts of things we might need, all gathered in one place. There’s even a special traveling Australia exhibit being featured this month.”

“Wait, stop.” You say, “Australia? As in everything-there-evolved-specifically-to-murder-everything Australia?” You laugh out loud at that. You were going to poison everything.

“Even koalas?” Marco asks.

“You mean drop bears,” you quip back without thinking.

“Right…” he looks at Jake and points to his head and twirls his index finger. Rachel kicks him in the shin. “Ow! Would you not do that!”

You choose that moment to move on to the next order of business, “Speaking of morphs, Elfangor needs a human one, to better blend in.”

“Doesn’t he have one of you?” Cassie asked, “That’s how you got here.”

<I would prefer a morph of my own gender.>

“I’m out,” Marco raised his hands, “The world cannot contain two of the glory that is Marco.”

<There is a technique known as the Frolis Maneuver. By combining several samples of DNA, a unique individual morph can be created. I already have a sample courtesy of Annie.>

“I’ll help,” Tobias said immediately.

<It also means I can use the individual morphs to… substitute for you if the need ever arises.>

“Oh whatever, then,” Marco acquiesced.

The others agreed as well in short order.

Elfangor acquired a sample from each of the others, and then looked at the pile of extra clothes that he had arrived in. The female clothes. You recognized the exhalation of breath as a rather deep sigh. He took the sweatshirt and the pants behind the hay bales.

“Why not just morph me for now and get boy clothes later?” you ask.

<I will not know the exact dimensions of the human morph until I complete it for the first time. If I am to acquire clothes, I’ll need to morph it once, and I’d rather do that now.>

So he does, and a little over a minute and a half later he comes out from behind the bales looking extremely uncomfortable in the now extremely tight pants.

He’s tall. As tall as Jake in this form, his skin only slightly darker than Tobias’s own. In fact, it seems that Tobias has managed to donate most of the look when it comes to physical appearance. Despite his youthful features, the way he carries himself makes him look much older. If you had to guess, you’d peg him as a late blooming sixteen year old, since his apparent youngness limits how old he can make himself appear through body language.

He very much has the appearance of Tobias’ older brother.

“Got it,” Rachel said after examining him for about six seconds.

“What now?” you ask, the only who besides Tobias who seems to have no idea what she’s talking about.

“His sizes. I got it. I’ve got some spare allowance; I can pick up a sale outfit or two for him before we hit up the Gardens.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Elfangor said, “I can acquire funds and clothing easily enough.”

“Yeah, but my way you’ll actually have style. And you won’t have to go shopping in,” she gestured at his current outfit and stifled a laugh, “that.”

“Alright then,” Jake interrupted, “so what do we do now? We have a plan… sort of. We’re going to get morphs later today, but how exactly does this slow down the Yeerks?”

Elfangor was returning to Andalite form behind the bales again, and you had a brief moment where you’d wish he’d pick a shape and stick with it, comfort or not.

<We have several options. We can attempt to locate the Kandrona, their food source, and destroy it, though this will take time and the generator will be well guarded. We can sabotage Yeerk Pool entrances, a minor inconvenience at best but a safe way to start. We could attempt to free hosts directly from or simply assaulting the pool, though that will be much riskier. I am… open to suggestions on how you wish to start operations. We could even postpone operations in favor of recruitment, though scouting potentials will take time and effort.>

“We’re all in this together; why not put it to a vote?”

You nod in agreement.