Ok, go easy on me its my first time writing an Animorph book. This will be the ending for book 54. Im gonna make Menderash use a mixture of thought speak and normal speak, he is in morph but he also has vocul cords.
Some terms have been translated into Human terms, such as degrees and distance measurments.
<Standard thought speak>
--Other thought speak--
"Ram the Bladeship!" ordered Jake.
"Yes my Prince, accelerating to maximum sublight velocity." replied Menderash.
Well, this is it, thought Marco. "It been nice knowing you guys, even you Menderash." said Marco as he patted Menderash on the back.
<Likewise.> He replied.
Santorelli said a silent prayer.
Jeanne looked stoic.
Tobias glared at the Bladeship with his hawk's eyes. The crew of that Bladeship had killed Rachel, the girl he loved. This creature, the One, had done something horrible to Aximili, his shorm. He felt no mercy as the Rachel prepared to ram the Bladeship. Here I come Rachel, i'll be there soon.
Its payback time you mind stealing freaks, Tobias thought.
In less then a second, the Rachels fusion drive powered up, and she sped towards the Bladeship. One of its weapons sails impacted the middle of the main body of the Bladeship. The super alloys of both ships, dozens to hundreds of times stronger then carbon steel, bent and crumbled and cracked into fragments that spun off into space.
Jake awoke. His head throbbed with pain. He reached up with his left hand and felt his forehead. His hand came back slick with red. He tried to stand up, but became far too dizzy.
Moans and groans of pain and cunfusion echoed around the bridge.
"Report!" he ordered.
Menderash picked himself up off of the floor and started checking control panels.
"All main systems are down Prince Jake, with the exception of life support, which is operating at 6% capacity. Weapons, shields, navigation, propulsion are all down. Long range sensors are down, and short range sensors are limited to passive scan only. Emergency force shields are intermediate at best. I project they will fail within 7 human minutes. When that happens, the atmosphere will escape into the vacuum of space. The heavily damaged life support system would be unable to keep us alive, even if the force shields did hold." Menderash replied.
"Peachy. At least its not raining." Said Marco.
Just then, a fire broke out on one of the consols and the liquid fire suppresion system kicked in.
<It appears your assesment is no longer correct Marco> Said Menderash.
"Yes it appears not. We live a glorious life." Said Marco.
"At least we are still around to live life Marco" Said Menderash.
Just then Santorelli got up, putting a pause on the banter. "What's going on?' he asked.
"It appears we survived the impact with the Bladeship." replied Menderash.
"Alright, Marco, Santorelli, help Jeanne and Tobias. Menderash, what is the condition of the Bladeship?" asked Jake.
"It is difficult to get readings with only passive scans, but I am detecting uncontrolled energy surges, plasma fires, and atmospheric leaks. They appear to be quite damaged." Menderash said. The Menderash looked out of the view port. "It appears as though we and the Bladeship are stuck together."
"Alright, can those shuttles in the docking bay get us out of here?" asked Jake.
"They are equiped with Z-space drive technology, but we would never make it back to Andalite or Human space before we ran out of supplies." said Menderash.
"What about that planet we ran into a few weeks back, that desert world? The one with the Gila monster people?" asked Marco.
"Of course! jilar! That world is well within range of our shuttles. We could make it there. Then we could send a transmission for help, and we could be rescued. Also, I feel I should remind you that we have 4 Human minutes of air left." Replied Menderash.
"Alright, every one to the docking bay, move!" said Jake.
They ran to the ladder and began climbing down to the docking bay, were the shuttles were kept.
End chapter one.
On board the Bladeship.
--Minion, what is this vessels condition?--said The One.
"Lord, control systems are severely damaged. We have minimal contact with the aft section sir. Hull breeches all through out the middle section sir, we lost 42 crew members but emergency force fields are now online. Engines, shields, and Dracon cannons are offline. One missile tube is still active however, and sensors just came back online." replied Deran, a Human contoller.
--And the infidel ship?-- asked The One.
"They are in worse condition then ourselves sir. Far more damage. Dead in the water. With our one missile tube we have them. As soon as the distance is wide enough, we could fire a fusion missile and.." Deran was saying.
--No. I want them alive. Prepair assault teams, lead one your self. Take four of my Kelbrid warriors with you. Bring them to me alive.-- said The One.
"Yes lord, i obey." Said Deran as he got up and walked towards the bridge exit.
Meanwhile on board the Rachel.
"I call the pod with Jeanne." wispered Marco to Jake.
"You know you have no chance right? Shes to tall for you." replied Jake.
"Oh the pain. I'll show you mr. doubt my capabilitys. Hey Jeanne! Wait up!" He yelled, with a smirk on his face.
They secured them selves, 3 in each pod. Jake, Santorelli and Menderash in pod 1, with Tobias, Marco and Jeanne in pod 2.
<My prince, the docking bay doors are not responding. I request permission to cut them open with this pods Dracon beams.> said Menderash.
"Granted. Tell the others in pod 2 what we are doing, then Fire away." Said Jake.
<Yes my prince, they have been notified, fireing.> replied Menderash.
Tsssssseeewwww! Tsssssseeeewww! Continuous twin beams of red sliced into the docking bay doors. The alloys gave way, and the pods flew out of the bay.
<We are in space sir, accelerating away from the Rachel and the Bladeship, prepairing for Z-space jump. 57 seconds till Z-space capability.> thought Menderash.
The consol beeped.
" Incomming Bug fighters. It appears as though they were heading for the Rachel, but they are now in persuit of us and pod 2." said Menderash.
"Evasive maneuvers, all availible power to the shields." Ordered Jake.
Tssseew!Tssseew! Sparks flew from consols on the shuttle! Tssseew!Tssseew!
<Direct hits. Shielding at 60%.> stated Menderash.
Tssseew!Tssseew!Fwooosh! BOOM! The shuttle spun out of control!
<Direct hit by both Dracon beams and an anti fighter missile. The deflector shields have failed. There is system damage spread throughout this pod. Another hit will destroy us.> stated Menderash calmly.
"Get us out of here!" orderd Jake.
Tssseew! Another Dracon beam lanced past the shuttle!
<We are Z-space capable now. Creating Z-space window. Pod 2 has already jumped to Z-space.> said Menderash.
Then they were surrounded by the white nothingness of Zero space.
<Course set for Jilar Prince Jake. I shall try to my full capabilitys to avoid negative Z-space shifts, and because we are traveling directly there instead of searching each star system i estimate our arrival will take three or four earth days.> stated Menderash.
"Understood. Contact the other pod, let them know that. Have them follow your course." ordered Jake.
"Yes my prince" replied Menderash.
Meanwhile, on pod 2.
Tobias, in human morph, was at the control consol. "Hey, Menderash says to follow his course, and that it will take three or four days to reach Jilar." said Tobias.
"So. Anyone bring a deck of cards?" asked Marco, looking from Tobias to Jeanne.
End chapter two.
Thousands of lightyears away, at quadrant 1, in the Xandarish sector an Andalite Domeship, the Yeerk Bain was on boarder patrol.
<Anything to report?> asked war prince Lerinal.
<Nothing of consequence. Two more comets, a plasma storm in the nearby nebula, and science officer Jalso banged his left stalk eye on a door arch.> replied T.O Seronal.
<Fascinating... no Yeerk activity detected at all?> asked Lerinal. He had picked up sarcasm from humans.
<Not even a unmanned Yeerk probe.> replied Seronal. It had been like this for months along the entire Yeerk empire/ Andalite/Human/Anati boarder.
<Quite disapointing. This is my last toor of duty before my retirement, and i was hoping for some Yeerk conflict.> said Lerinal. The majority of the Yeerk race was still refusing to surrender.
<Any idea who is replaceing you?> asked com officer Balora.
<You know i am not technicly allowed tell you who is going to replace me, but i have put in a good word for Seronal.> he replied, smileing at the T.O.
<Thank you sir, i would do my best to be as good of a commander as you my war prince.> said Seronal.
< I have confidence in your capabilities. You have proven yourself many times. > said Lerinal.
<Thank you again...> Seronal started saying.
BOOM!BOOM! Sparks flew from consols, the ship shudderd.
<Report!> yelled Lerinal.
<Some kind of stealth mines. They were cloaked, emmiting almost no e.m and very small. No wonder we did not detect them. Thermonuclear based. The signeture is Yeerk. I have called an all stop, and raised our shielding to full capacity. Minor damage and casualty reports comming in. We are already stabilizing.> reported Seronal.
<Adjust our scanners for known Yeerk cloaking array frequencies. Also scan for spatial disruptions and gravitic tremors. If this mine field was set a while back we can probably detect them.> ordered Lerinal.
<Yes my war prince, adjusting short range scanners. But this mine field may be new war prince. Then we will have a much harder time pierceing the cloaks.> said Seronal.
< But eventually we shall. Commence scans. > Lerinal replied.
Several moments when by...
<Good news, these mines appear to be somewhat outdated. I have managed to adjust our scanners to pierce their cloaks. There are many of them, they stretch around this entire side of this star system. They are thermonuclear, definetly a Yeerk technological signeture as well.> said Seronal.
<Can we disable them without endangering our vessel? Perhaps with an disruptive ion pulse?> asked Tornil, the navigation officer.
<Good idea. Ill charge our shield emitters to realease one. With your permission war prince?> asked Seronal.
<Permission granted.>said Leronil.
The tactical consol beeped.
<Sir, multiple Yeerk ships entering the system!> exclaimed Seronal
<Battle stations!> ordered Leronil.
Power surged through the ship as the defense shields were reinforced, the e.w systems activated, and the Shredder batteries were charged. Andalite warriors rushed to their fighters and duty stations, and the mighty Domeship came hard about to face the on comming Yeerk ships.
< I am detecting five Yeerk cruisers. No match for us in a fair fight. They are targeting us with what apear to be type four Dracon batteries, standered type used by cruiser sized vessels. I am targeting them with our type six Shredder arrays. 30 seconds to firing range. Permission to fire war prince? > asked Seronal.
< Wait for them to fire first. Let them ignite this conflict. Then destroy them. And Seronal, scan aft for cloaked ships, reinforce our aft shields with auxillery power, and ready aft launchers with four quantum devices > ordered Lironal.
< Yes my war prince. > replied Seronal.
TSSEEW! TSSEEW! TSSEW! TSSEEW! TSSEW! TSSEEW! TSSEEW! TSSEEW! Blazing red beams of particle energy struck the shields of the Yeerk Bain, and since the shields were at full capacity, much of the energy was reflected off into space, and the rest was absorbed into the shield.
< No damage reports. Shields at 96%. I am returning fire. > stated Seronal.
It is hard to comprehend how powerful the main weapons of a Dome ship are. They were currently being used at partial strength, releasing hundreds of thousands of terajoules worth of energy with a few moments of discharge. The equivelent of millions, yes millions, of tons of TNT exploding. Tons, not pounds. Three Yeerk ships, cocky from not being fired on yet, were incinerated with a few seconds of discharge. The last two hauled their slug butts out of the system.
< Looks like..> Seronal began.
BOOOM! The entire Dome ship lurched from a massive explosion on the aft shields.
< War prince, that was a large matter/antimatter explosion off our port aft. I measure it at least a gigaton. The auxillery energy you had diverted to those shields kept the blast from effecting our hull sir. If you had not, some energy would have leaked through and possably damaged our engines. A Bladeship to our port aft is now entering Z-space. > reported Seronal.
< The Yeerks tend to use the same tricks over and over. They have used that stratagy to attack Dome ships many times before. They are parasites and possess minimal creativity compared to ourselves or the Humans. Make repairs to whatever systems need them, then lets disarm those mines. I will be in my chambers. > ordered Leronal as he walked towards the exit.
< Yes war prince. It shall be done. > replied Seronal as he made the arrangements for repair work to be done.
< Its too bad he is retireing. He is the best commander I have ever had. Much better then captain Jerall, my last commander. > said Tornil.
< I agree. He is one of the better commanders in the fleet. It puts pain in my hearts to think that he is leaving us. > stated Balora.
< But we have no power to change the situation, and we will serve our new commander to the best of our efficiency, as we would War Prince Leronal. > said Seronal, well he silently agreed with the other officers.
End chapter three.
In the central chamber of the councle of thirteen.
Vissers are sub vissers had been reporting to the councle all day. Currently, Visser 1 was addressing the councle on the matter of restarting galactic expansion.
" The losses at Earth were large yes, tens of thousands of Yeerks, a Pool ship, a Bladeship that fled, a cruiser and close to 500 Bug fighters and assorted craft, but we must not give in to our fears of further loss. Earth can give us the hosts we need to expand back into this galactic quadrant. Our accelerated breeding programs and experimental cloning facilities can only do so much for now. We have spent months fortifying our territories, especially the homeworld, Hork'Bajir, Xandar, and Taxxar, and lying low, drawing minimal attention to ourselves. But we must expand! If we merely play defensive, they will where at us and pick at us, and it will give them time to develop counter measures to our defenses and build up their own forces. Long range scans show that the Humans are constructing many vessels and facilities. Soon they will be a power to contend with. I implore to councle to act soon! I am willing to take my vessel and an exploritory force imediately to the little explored sections of the outer galactic arms and edge on quadrant 1, we still have room to expand there. There may be resources that could aid us very much in our campaign." Exclaimed Tomesh 334, the new Visser 1. He stepped off of the podium and sat down in his assigned chair.
" Your words are heard. We shall consider your proposals. You are dismissed. Return to your bladeship well we consider. Visser 24, you are called to the podium. " Said Gerouff, a Hork'Bajir controller.
" The Anati star kingdom have been trading Zero space messages and ships filled with diplomats with the Lithilian alliance of late, we have been unable to intercept much but it apears as though three centuries of hostility between them may be about to end, which would allow the Anati to refocus on us. Large shipments of the substance instant Maple and Ginger oatmeal have been intercepted, it appears Norshk smugglers are transporting the drug in exchange for dracon weapons..." Visser 1 heard Visser 24 start to say as he left the chamber.
Great, he thought. More good news...
He walked towards the drop shaft that would take him too the main docking bay.
The Yeerk empire is losing focus. Its leaders were weakening in their resolve. The conflict with the Andalite people was the largest obstacle the empire had ever faced, next to the lack of sufficient host bodies. They had to expand, conquer more species, collect new technologies and places to gather resources from. To do other wise would ruin the empire. The core of the empire remained strong, but in the outer territories the news that Yeerk on Earth had been allowed to choose to become Nothlits was stirring up defections. The Andalites refused to give the Yeerk empire Escafil devices for fear we would use them to continue the war. And they were right. Why stop? If all Yeerks morphed into Hork'Bajir and Humans we would have a massive force with which to fight. No different then if we all had host bodies.
He stepped into the drop shaft and thought "Docking bay".
A fear of the Andalites ran deep in many Yeerks. He had to show that the mighty Andalites were not invincible. They should respect the Andalites as enemys, but not fear them. The Yeerk empire would triumph over all one way or another, eather by direct conflict or infiltration and subversion. The Andalites were powerful, but out numbered 15 to one by Yeerks. They only needed host bodies. With enough hosts, they would over run and eather enslave or exterminate the Andalite forces, the Anati, the Hawjabrans, and every other race that they found.
He arrived at the docking bay, stepped out of the drop shaft and headed for his personal Bug fighter. He looked admiringly at the class XIII Bug fighters around the docking bay. His personal craft was formidable, but not a match for one of the councle of thirteens elite fighters.
He already had Yeerks loyal to him staging a number of coordinated attacks on Andalite patrol vessels along the Andalite/Yeerk empire boarders. The attacks had been carefully planned to create strategic weaknessess in the Andalite forces. The councle would be foolish not to follow through with more strikes.
He entered his fighter, recieved permission to launch, and flew out the the bay and towards his Bladeship.
Andalites were arrogant, prideful, and over confident. The border had been so quiet of late that most Andalite commanders would be cocky and unexpectent of an attack. They empire could retake lost strongholds and reestablish outposts along the border. They then could push on into Andalite space well they were still recovering from the surprise attacks. If all went well, as many as 30,000 Andalite warriors would die in the next few hours. Maby even twice that. It would be quite a blow.
The Bladeship, the Imperial savior, acknowledged his approach, the docking bay doors opened and he flew inside. Fuel tubes and holding clamps attached to his ship.
The Human threat would have to be delt with. Humans were primitive, but they were aggressive, clever, industrious, and above all, numerous. In time they would become a larger threat then the Andalites.
He left his ship and headed for his personal chambers to await news.
"Got any fives?" asked Marco.
"Go Fish." replied Tobias.
Marco reached for a card from the pile. They had been playing go fish, Kings in the corner, and poker for four days. Jeanne had ended up winning every poker game, so Marco and Tobias had given up. Tobias had been demorphing and remorphing every two hours, and sleeping in his hawk form.
"Tobias, are you there?" came Menderash's voice from the com.
Tobias got up and walked towards the control consol. "Yeah im here. Whats up? " he asked.
" Be prepared to create a Z-space window in 50 Earth seconds. Im sending you the non dimensional/real space coordinate data. " replied Menderash.
" Got it. " said Tobias.
" Finaly! I cannot wait to get out of this pod. I hope they will have showers were we are going." said Jeanne, as she looked at Marco.
The Yeerk pod only had a adaptable lavetory. No shower or bath or similer device.
" Hey, you dont exactly smell like a rose right now." retorted Marco.
" At least I do not reek like a basket of onions that have been sitting in the mid day sun." shot back Jeanne.
"Children, dont make me pull this pod over. This Yeerk system is not entirely automatic, I need to concentrate. " said Tobias.
" So in other words, shut up? " said Marco.
" Yeah. Pretty much. " said Tobias.
Jeanne and Marco resorted to glaring at each other.
" Here we go! Hang on! " ordered Tobias.
Both pods shook as energy surged through the pod, and the Z-space drives riped a portal between non dimension and our reality.
" Prince Jake, we are approximately 2 million miles from Jilar. We will arive in around 7 Earth minutes at standered cruising speed. I recommend we contact the Jilarians and inform them of our return. Remember that they are armed with ground to high orbit weaponry, and they have been warned about Yeerk craft. " said Menderash.
" I was just about to suggest that myself Menderash. Go ahead." replied Jake.
Menderash hailed Jilar.
Last time they had entered this system and approached the planet, they had taken fire. They were ordered to surrender by the Jilarian high command, and had to explain that they were not Yeerks. It took three days for the Jilarians to finally trust that they were not Yeerks. After that the Jilarians were quite friendly, and as compensation offered supplies and repairs at no cost.
" This is Menderash calling the Jillarian high command, do you hear me? " asked Menderash.
" We heresss you Menderasssh." was the reply.
"Sounds like a Jilarian." said Santorelli.
(An image of a Jilarian may be seen here. )
" I am requesting permission to dock. Our ship was lost fighting the Yeerks, and our pods have limeted range. We would also like to use of one of your long range transmitters to contact the Electorate so that they can send a ship to pick us up." said Menderash.
" You are most welcome here Yeerk killersss. We are sending you landing coordinantsss. Ssseveral officialss will meet you there. " said the Jilarian.
"We are recieving coordinants. I am telling Tobias to follow us. " said Menderash as he adjusted the shuttles course.
" That was easy. " said Jake.
" The Jalarians are brisk and too the point. They have a dislike for what they deam unnecessary proceders or pomp and circumstance. They are quite industrious as well. They are excellent workers. They have been a major supplier to the Andalites of refined Aratone and other valuble metals. " stated Menderash.
The pods descended into the atmosphere. They proceded at safe atmosphereic speeds to the landing pads.
The landed, Menderash's landing was much softer then Tobias's landing. Struts extended from the bottoms of the pods, and ramps came out from the access hatch's of the pods.
They walked down the ramps and saw several Jalarians approaching them.
" Welcome to Jalar once again enemys of the Yeerk empire. You shall be given accommodations. We have taken the liberty of contacting an Andalite cruiser in the vicinity. They will arrive in one and a half planetary rotations to take you were ever you wish to go. Please follow us. " said the head Jilarian official.
They followed the Jalarians as they headed for a large building nearby.
" Thank you. I would like to use the transmitter myself however. I must brief the Electorate on the information we have gathered so far. " said Menderash.
" Im sorry, but all the transmittersss are in use. We are conducting very important trade negotiationsss with the Solinar alliance and The Conglomeration. You will have to use the Andalite ships comunications system to contact the Electorate. " replied the Jalarian.
" Alright, who was the captain of the cruiser? And which cruiser was it? " asked Menderash.
" I do not know, he did not give hisss name, or the designation of hisss vessel. " replied another Jalarian.
" I see. " said Menderash.
They entered the building, then used an upwards travel shaft to get to another floor. Jalarians walked about, performing various tasks. They then went down some coridoors, and then they stopped at a guest chamber. The head Jilarian opened the door for them.
" Here. You may sstay here intill the ship arrivesss. Use the consol to call for anything you may need. " said the head Jalarian. The Jalarians turned to leave.
" Thanks. " said Jake.
The room was large but reletively bare. It had several other rooms linked to it, an interface consol on the wall by the door, some funiture, a sand garden and one large window overlooking the outside.
" Couch! Dibs! " yelled Marco as he dive bombed the piece of furniture.
Jeanne made a beeline for what could have only been the bathroom.
Tobias went over to the window. " Hey guys, id say we are at least fifty floors up. There's no balcony and the window doesent open. You should see the view though. " he said.
Santorelli walked over to see, and Jake was about to follow when Menderash grabbed his arm.
< I would like to speak with you privetly. It may be quite important. I would suggest you morph so that you can use thought speak. > said Menderash.
Santorelli and Tobias seemed to be discussing something about the view, backs turned to the rest of the room.
Jake nodded, and began morphing into a Tiger.
He told himself that is was a random choice, but he was getting some bad vibes and the power of the Tiger would be a comfort. He finished his morph. Keen eyes. Sharp hearing. Liquid steel power. Jake felt better.
< What is it Menderash? > Jake asked.
< My prince, something is wrong here. The answers the Jilarian gave me were questionable. For instance, the fact that all the transmitters and the channels were in use is unlikely. The Jilarians possess several dozen powerful long range transmission devices, and each can handle thousands of communications at once. Also, he said that the captain of the Andalite cruiser did not give his ships name or his own. It is standard Andalite military procedier that you give your name and the name of the vessel you command. For him not to would be highly unusual. Also, as we were comming in, I detected no ships besides Jilarian. Jilar has several valuble metals, and is a heavy commerce center. Many races and privet captains come here to trade and transport goods. > Replied Menderash.
< I see what you mean. Try to find some more information at that consol on the wall there. Ill talk to the troops. > Jake said.
< Yes my prince. > said Menderash as he walked towards the computer interface.
Just then Tobias turned from the window and saw Jake in Tiger morph. " Woa. Hello. Whats up Jake? " he asked. Santorelli turned around as well.
< I want everyone in combat morphs now. Menderash has noticed some things that should give us pause for concern. > Jake said in group directed thought speak.
" Got it " said Tobias as he began demorphing.
" Aye sir. " said Santorelli as he began morphing Lion.
Jake got a chill as Santorelli morphed into a Lion. David had had a Lion morph, and David had not turned out so well. He had almost killed Jake. But James, the handicapped kid had used a Lion morph too, and he had turned out alright. Jake shook off the bad memories.
Snores came from the couch.
< Marco. > said Jake.
" Glerrfb. "
< Marco! > yelled Jake.
" Aaa! What!" he looked around. " Jeez Jake I was sleeping. The Andalites couldent be here already could they be? " Marco asked.
< We got trouble. Go ape, we may need firepower. > Jake ordered.
" Ah. Got it. " Marco said and he bagan to morph into Gorrilla. " What kind of trouble? he asked.
Just then Jeanne came out of the bathroom, in Hyena morph. She growled at Santorelli and took a step towards him.
< Jeanne! Get a grip. > said Jake.
The Hyena looked confused, then..
" Woa. It was like I was the Hyena, like i dident exist anymore. " she said.
< Yeah. Lions and Hyenas are natural enemies. > Marco said, now fully Gorrilla.
Jake looked at him.
< Hey, I watch the discovery channel every now and then. > he said.
< Prince Jake. The power supply to this room has been cut off. I am unable to get it back. With no power, there is no chance I could hack the Jilarian computers. > said Menderash as he turned around from the interface.
< The door wont open dude. I just tried it twice. Want me to force it? " asked Marco, who had walked over to the door.
" Yeah, if you can. Menderash, help him. Fifty floors up. Window wont open. No terminal. One door that is locked. Id say your suspicions were well founded Menderash. Id also say that their probably no Andalite ship comming eather.
" Why are they doing this? What is the point? " asked Jeanne.
< I do not know. Perhaps we have broken a law of some kind. > replied Menderash.
-- I would be happy to explain things to your feeble minds. The Jilarians have no choice, they are simply doing what they must to save their world from a terrible fate. -- came a thought speak voice.
The door opened suddenly. Standing in the archway were three fierce looking beings. One had a larger head then the others, and larger blades.
The creatures stood there.
< Can we help you? > asked Marco.
-- In a way. You can help us by following us to our ship. Our master is eager to meet you. We are under orders to retrive you alive, but stunning or maiming is still allowed. You have 2 of your minutes to decide weather or not to come volentarily. You should know that resistance would not be wise, we are quite powerful. -- said the middle creature.
< Who are these guys? > Jake asked Menderash in privet thought speak.
< I do not know. I do not recognise this species. > replied Menderash, also privetly.
-- We are called Kelbrid. -- said the middle one with the large head.
< Um, we were speaking privetly right? > Jake asked Menderash.
-- I am what you would call telepathic. Your projected thoughts are easy to read. You cannot decive me. You are down to one of your minutes. Decide... -- the creature was saying.
Jake struck like a zen archer, almost before he knew he was going too. His claws hit the Kelbrid in the center, slicing chiton and causing a greenish fluid to ooze out. < Attack!! > he yelled.
They all surged foward.
The Kelbrid were quite fast. At least as fast as a Hork'Bajir. Their blades sliced and stabbed, and the Animorphs bit and slashed.
( Kelbrid-has a image of one the the creatures. )
Jake was going for the Kelbrid leaders neck, but all of a sudden his legs kicked out and shot Jake 10 feet back into the room. Santorelli took his place, powerful claws slashing, the Kelbrid raised his arm to block, then tiny dagger like spines shot out of his forearm like a hedgehogs quills and impaled one of Santorellis Lion arms, the Lion roared in pain.
The others were busy with the other two Kelbrid. Marco pummled one of them well Tobias, in Hawk form attacked from above. Jeanne locked her powerful jaws on the other Kelbrids leg and ripped and teared. Menderash drew a hand Shredder he had hid in his belt and shot Marcos Kelbrid through were a Human heart would be. The Kelbrid staggered back, but was not dead. Marco smashed his face, knocking him backwards. He raised his right arm, and a bolt of blue shot out of it and hit Menderashes arm. Menderash managed to dial up the power and shoot the Kelbrid again, this time disentigrating its head. Its body, still twitching, fell to the floor.
Jeannes Kelbrid had impaled her on its left arm blade. Its leg was damaged, but it was still up.
< Jeanne! He gutted you! Demorph!! Demorph now! > Marco yelled at her.
Marco, Tobias and Menderash all hit the second Kelbrid. A shredder burst got rid of its right arm, Marco smashed its body again and again and kicked its damged leg, and Tobias attacked what looked like eyes. It swung its left arm blade with rage and cut Marcos arm clean off, then it kicked him, opening his belly. A well aimed shredder burst by Menderash to the Kelbrids torso finished the battle.
Santorelli and Jake were barely keeping the leader busy, and had sustained injurys. What was left of the Animorphs all attacked him at the same time, and managed to pin him down. Five shots from Menderash with the Shredder on heavy stun managed to tranquilize him. He glared with rage.
-- I win. -- he said in weak thoughtspeak.
Then his head twitched to the left, hard. Membrains around its head began blinking, the colers becoming more and more bright.
< Lets get out of here! > yelled Jake.
They all ran for the door, Jeanne and Marco had demorphed.
Then a burst of white light, and they all fell to the floor.
Jake was the first to awaken. He got up, head throbbing with one of the worst headahces he had ever had, and looked around. They were in the hallway outside their room. The others were just reviving. What ever had hit them had not been your normal explosion. Their was no damage from it to anything that he could see. Maby it had been some kind of stun device...
< Guys, wake up. We need to move, they will send more troops, and those warriors will probably be both more heavily armed and prepared. > Jake said.
< Uhh...god what was that? It feels like I had a whole bottle of bourbon last night. > said Santorelli.
" And appearently I was there with you. " Marco said.
" That was a most unpleasant experiance." stated Menderash.
Jeanne got up, looking a little shaken up. Tobias, in his Human body, went over to her.
" Hey. It was pretty close back there. " Tobias said.
" I was very close to death Tobias. That beast had impaled me. I saw a light, then, I awoke, in my own body. It was quite stressful however." Jeanne replied.
" Well, focus on the fact that you demorphed. Your here now. Your ok. " Tobias said and he did his best to smile.
All of a sudden, alarms started blaring.
< I think we should relocate to a new area.> Menderash suggested.
< Right. Our shuttles are probibly guarded, or worse. Lets find a place to lay low for a while. Move out! Eyes open for danger! > Jake ordered.
They rushed down the hall.
Meanwhile, roughly 1100 light years away.
Captain Lithinors personal log. My ship, the Aldaoth, has detected unusual activity in our patrol sector. Long range scans have detected over two dozen transport ships from several species moving toward quadrant 1, and all the ships appear to be from the same relative trajectory as Kelbrid space, in quadrant 2. We know almost nothing of the Kelbrid, only that they are highly aggressive yet appearently trust worthy. Our treaty with them has stood for thousands of Earth years, and they have never violated it. Still, I am concerned. Aggressive races tend to desire expansion, and quadrant 1 is rich is resources. These ships, who seem to be fleeing from something, have increased my concerns greatly. The "border relm", which must be crossed to reach quadrant 1, is very dangerous. Non-dimensional distortions, spatial tears, warped space fabric. Space pirates, scum and bandits like to use it to hide. Debris from a few vessels has been detected. It is filled with all kinds of dangers and little if any help around for thousands of light years. They would have to be quite fearful and/or desperate to risk crossing it. Sub note, I believe that something catestrophic happened in the border relm, a long time ago that somehow damaged that area of space time. These ships have caused no problems in quadrant 1 so far. They appear to be normal reugees, but some may be spys, preparing for an invasion. Our sister ship, the Esfallan, has gone too question some of the reugees who have settled in the Quab system. We shall acquire more information from them. End log entry.
< Sir, an encoded Z-space signel comming in from the Esfallen. Its for you. > came the com officers thought speak voice.
< Put it through. > ordered captain Lithinor.
The transmission was directed too his consol.
< We are orbit around Quab 4, were the refugees agreed to meet us. We have found only a smoldering crater and trace amounts of Tiridium, Ramonite and Plaranium, as well as an unknown left over energy signeture, presumably from weapons fire. The refugee ships we spoke with had all of those metals in their hull alloy. They had appearently landed, and have been destroyed by a currently unknown force. We are preparing to investigate Quab 3, which had a pre-Z-space civilization. We are picking up no radio waves, laser or microwave communications. They had advanced to that point when we surveyed this system last. I fear the worst, that they too have been destroyed. I wanted to keep you informed. > the transmission ended.
Captain Lithinors hearts sank. Those ships had room for over a thousand passengers, and Quab 4 had a population of over a million sentients. If they to were dead...well. Those responsible would be found and punished.
Now, on bord the Esfallen.
< Planetary scans commencing Captain. Wide spectrum sweeps. > said the tactical officer. < Sir, we are detecting no obviously sentient life forms. No signs of civilization. Only more craters, and the same unknown energy signeture. > he said a few moments later.
< Contact the Andalite Electorate and the Aldaoth on encoded, secure channels. Inform them of what we have discovered. Request that they divert more ships to this region of space to aid in the investigation of these attacks and the protection of the differant races here. Domeships and more battleships would be preferable. > said Captain Dorashan.
< Messages going out Captain. Might I suggest... > the tactical consol beeped. < Captain, 6 unidentified contacts on sensors. One million kilometers and closing. Unknown hull configuration. They were hiding behind the thrid moon. I have raised our defense shields to full power, Shredders and bombs are on standby. Unknowns are now at 900,000 kilometers. > stated the T.O.
< Target the vessels, but do not fire unless fired apon. Hail the unknown vessels. > said Captain Dorashan.
< Hail going out sir. No response. Unknown now at 775,000 kilometers. Sir, three more unknowns approaching, distance, 800,000 kilometers! We have been surrounded. All stations reporting ready, fighters are go for launch, critical systems have warriors posted at them and force fields raised around them. Unknowns now at 675,000 kilometers. > said the T.O.
< Hail again, if they do not respond consider them hostile and fire after they fire, not before. > ordered the Captain.
< Yes Captain. > replied the T.O.
A short time later...
< Im picking up an energy spike...they are firing apon us! > said the T.O
Although the battleship shuddered, its shields protected it from the deadly beams.
< Return fire. All weapons. Launch fighters. Contact the Aldaoth, inform them of our situation. > ordered Captain Dorashan.
< We are being jammed by the group of unknowns Captain. > was the reply.
< Then we are on our own. > said the Captain.
Shredder beams lanced out at the assailants, and a battle began.
Aboard the Bladeship Imperial savior.
Dapsen! Fellgering Dapsen! Those stubborn Andalites just refused to roll over and die. The attacks on the Andalite boarder had all gone through....but three had failed, all high priority targets, and the Andalite boarder still had significant defenses left over. They would be able to immediately attack any worlds retaken in the name of the empire.
Still, the boarder had been thrown into chaos. The Andalite line was weakened. Got to stay positive.
He was pacing in his quarters. The were on there way to a planet called Corash 2. Corash 2 was among the few planets in Yeerk territory with abundent veins of Aratone, a strong, super heat resistant metal used in advanced hull construction and armor.
It was also far away from the front lines, and a hard target for the Andalites to attack. They were going to help bolster the defenses of Corash 2.
Corash 2 also had something else of interest, ruins dating back 150,000 years B.E.(Before empire.) The empire was searching them for advanced technologies. A species that old may have been more advanced then the mighty Andalites. It was a long shot though, the ruins had been scavanged thoroughly by other, primitve space fairing races a long time ago.(Too primitive to be able to smelt Aratone.) So far the only things they had discovered were walls with alien text on them. They were trying to translate it.
The ruins were also made of a crystaline like material bonded with Aratone that was almost uneffected by Dracon beams or other such weapons. Where this race was at the moment was a mystery. Hopfully, if they were still around, they would not notice us poking our collective noses in their fortress or city. Whatever it was.
" Visser, we have almost reached our target destination. " Came a voice over the intercom.
Visser 1 pressed his combadge. " Acknowledged. I am on my way to the bridge. " He left his quarters, the automatic doors swooshing open, then closed.
Back aboard the Esfallen ......
The ship shuddered as multiple mines were dropped on it from the attacking vessels. < Captain, the assailents are deploying antimatter based explosive devices! Shield integrity at 60% of maximum, remodulating to compensate.... > The T.O was saying. A massive detonation partially ripped through the defense shields. < Captain, the diagnostic computer is telling me our main sensors are down, and shredder batteries 1-7 are non operational due to power flow disruptions. I am attempting to rerout power through auxillery conduit systems. I.... > He looked over. A power surge had broken through the safety features of a power conduit near the bridge. It had caused an explosion, the the resulting shrappnal had torn the captain apart. The ship shuddered again.
The T.O pressed the ship wide com activator. < Captain Dorsaffen is dead. I am assuming command of the Esfallen. Damage control team to the bridge. Engineering, how are we doing? >
< This is engineering. The main Ion core is stable, but 2 of our secondary crystal cells are disabled. Our shield strength is at 50%, the main sensors are toast. We are working on getting the damaged shredder batteries operational again, our left side is very open to attack without them. My damage control teams are kinda spread thin right now. >
< Acknowledged. Divert all remaining crystal cell power to the shield emmitters. > He clicked the com off. < Helmsmen, plot a course for those ships, keep our starboard side on them. > The T.O ordered.
< Yes acting captain. Course layed in. > he replied.
The T.O armed more quantum devices for deployment. He knew the danger of useing them when the shields were this damaged, there wasa chance the realeased exotic particles could wreak havoc with their systems, but he wanted this battle finished.
The injured Esfallen approached the unknowns. The unknowns responded in kind, bristling with weapon turrets.
The T.O locked onto the enemy vessels and pressed the fire all button. A dozen quantum explosives and a phalanx of shredder beams lanced out at the unkowns. Even with the filture on the view screen the flash of light was blinding. But all 3 ships were gone, turned into atoms and particles. The T.O nodded.
< This is T.O Cressfall to the crew, the unknowns have been destroyed. All hands are required to assist in damage control. I have sent out a distress call to the Aldaoth and they will be here as quickly as possable. >
He started reading the incomming casualty reports on his consol.
< Do you think they saw us? > Asked Tobias, back in Hawk form.
" I hope not. But Menderash says these tunnels are filled with dicalium and osmium ore. It can block Jallian sensors. " Jake said.
They had rushed down the hall and found the exit gaurded by 10 Kelbrid. So they rushed into the nearest room, locked the door, and proceeded to burn a hole through the floor with Menderashes shredder. They then used the stairway to escape out into the city. Menderash, who had been to Jilar a decade ago to help set up the defences, had led the way, and found some old mining shafts beneith the city, where they currently resided.
" But what about Kelbrid sensors? " said Santorelli.
" The advancement level of Kelbrid technology is unknown to the Andalites. We had never had any direct contact with the Kelbrid, only a race that served them, the Aourakk. " Menderash said.
" Arrack? " Marco asked.
" Aourakk. A shrewed avian species, apperently used by the Kelbrid as diplomats and spokesmen. They wore dark robes that obscured their main features. Little information about them is available, and the records are many centuries old. " Menderash replied.
" Well, this is all interesting, but currently of little value, what do we do now? We still need to get off this planet. " Jeanne stated.
< We could steal a ship. Wouldent be the first time....> Tobias was saying.
" We could attempt to contact the Andalite fleet command, ask for aid and get them to send ships. " Menderash interupted.
" No. One, there is no guarantee we could get a signal through, even if we did find a transmitter. Two, how many Kelbrid ships might there be out there? What are their capabilaties? The Andalites could get stomped for all we know. They are not almighty. " Marco said, Menderash looked unhappy. " Thirdly, a small ship would be more capable of avoiding a large armada and escaping into Z-space. " Marco finished.
" I agree with Marco. " Santorelli said.
" I must concur with Santorelli. " Jeanne said, sniffing as she did so.
" Well, looks like we are going to steal a small ship. Menderash, suggestions on what to commandeer? " Jake asked, attempting to smooth over some ruffled feathers, so to speak.
" Well, we could attempt to take two ships so as not to put all our eggs in one basket as you humans say. But, that could divide our fighting force. Also, some fancy flying as you Humans say, could be required. There is only one person here who posseses the necessary piloting skill. Myself. We should attempt to take a small transport of some kind, a ship designed to transport goods. Enough space for everyone. Faster then a fighter or shuttle. Usually. " Menderash said.
" Sounds good." Jake said.
They set to planning.
High in orbit above Jilar....
Deren's consol beeped.
" My master, a report just came in. The Animorphs have escaped custody. " Deran told the One.
-- A undesired yet not unexpected circumstance. They have one way off this world, accquiring a f.t.l capable vessel. I want one hundred warriors deployed at every space port on Jilar. Launch more fighters to strengthen the blockade. -- the One ordered.
" Yes lord. The assault cruisers are now preparing their teleportation arrays. Ships moving into position. " Deran replied.
-- Toomak. -- the One said, addressing the T.O.
" Yes master? " Toomak replied.
-- Target the building were the Animorphs were before with a Dracon beam and destroy it. -- the One ordered.
" Right away. " Toomak said as he pressed some buttons on his consol.
A beam of crimson light flashed forth from the Bladeship.
He would have the Animorphs the One thought. It was just a matter of time.
Back on the planet...
< I have almost arrived at the nearest star port. > Menderash said in thought speak. He still possed hid sense of direction.
< I can see it already. > Tobias said to him.
< I have for a while now. > Santorelli said in privet thought speak.
< Too bad Menderash cant morph into bird form. > Marco said to Jake.
< He made his choice. Remember without him coming along we would have never made it past the Domeships in orbit around Earth. > Jake replied.
< I know but still. He is like, crawling along down there. Compared to us. > Marco said.
They were all in bird morph, with the exception of Menderash. They guided him around patrols and Jilarian civilians. They had been hiding on various buildings well they waited for Menderash. There were enough Jilar birds around that they did not stand out too much. Plus Jilarians did not look up alot. Like Humans.
< I am at the perimeter....> Menderash started saying. He went to walk onto the landing area and hit a wall of energy which shot him backwards.
< Menderash, you ok dude?! > Tobias asked.
< I am in a fair amount of pain. However I believe myself to be fine otherwise. The landing area seems to be protected by a pain inducing repulsor force field. I am unsure how to get around it, I shall look for a way to disable it. It would help if you all could look for a power distrabution center, emmiter modules, or gap in the field, were a.."door way" would be. > Menderash replied.
< Right away. You heard him troops, start looking. > Jake ordered.
< Thank you Prince Jake. > Menderash said.
< What does one of these emmiter modules look like? > Jeanne asked.
< I am unsure. If it is Jalarian technology it will be approximately 2 meters in hight, 5 meters in diameter, and covered with what will appear to be overlapping scails that will reflect light photons. But I do not believe this to be Jalarian technology. More likely Norshk. In which case.... > Menderash was saying.
< It would look like a bunch of 6 foot long spears bundled together in a cylinder? > Marco asked.
< Yes. How are you aware of this? > Menderash asked, surprised at Marcos knowledge.
< Kinda obvious. There is one of them every 100 feet or so around the perimeter. > Marco replied.
< Yes, to keep the field stable and provide redundancy incase of technical problems or an attack... > Menderash was saying.
< Yeah, so, can you disable it? > Maco asked.
< It is only Norshk technology. > Menderash said, moving through the buildings towards an emmiter. < They are moderately advanced but Andalites are still far above them. > he finished. He reached the emmiter and started to examine it.
< Any ideas? > Jake inquired.
< Several. I must focus now. > Menderash replied. He found a hidden psycotronic control pannel and began accessing it.
< Who are these " Norshk" ? > Jeanne asked.
< Eh, Menderash told me a bit about them. They are not very well liked. They control a small region of space " south " of Andalite space. They are aggressive and often raid passing ships and nearby worlds. There are also smaller divisions of Norshk who are spread all around. > Tobias supplied.
There was a flash of light on the ground near Menderash.
< I have disabled the shield in this section. I can now go through. > Menderash said, moving into the landing area.
< Everyone! Move! > Jake ordered, and the Animorphs surged foward.
A missmatched flock of terran birds swooped down towards the landing area and Menderash ran as fast as he could across the field. They did not go unnoticed.
"Ssssstop! Or we will fire! " Jilarian guards exclaimed as they ran after the Animorphs, Dracon rifles and pulse guns in hand.
TSSSSEW! TSSSSEW! Phoo! Phoo! Red beams and sizzling yellow bolts flew at the fleeing aliens.
Tsssser! Tobias swooped and ripped at a Jilarians head, cutting bloody swaths. Jeanne followed suit, ripping at a Jilarians eyes. They all threw up their arms to ward off further avian attack, but their foes had already fled towards the shuttle Menderash was busy breaking into.
< I have figured out the door. > Menderash stated as the Ramonite alloy skin of the shuttle peeled back.
< Everyone inside! > Jake ordered. Five birds of prey flew through the opening. Menderash was already busy at the control consol overriding the cargo shuttles security system.
< I have overridden the Jilarian securty measures. Systems powered. Defense fields raised. Permission to lift off my Prince? > Menderash asked.
< Granted! Get us out of here! > Jake yelled.
< Ditto!> Marco stated.
Menderash typed in some commands to the consol.....
FWOOOOOOOOOM!!! The tubby looking shuttle went from a gentle hover to the speed of sound in a few seconds, and continued to accelerate.
Everyone was thrown around, Menderash scambled back to the consol. < Well, the inertial dampeners are working. Fortunately.... > He said.
< Everyone ok? Any injuries? > Jake asked as he looked around.
< I am fine. > Jeanne replied.
< A-ok here. > Tobias said.
< Present sir. > Santorelli reported.
< Fan-freakin-tastic thank you for asking. Just a normal day of being chased by a friend absorbing lunatic and his gaglle of super goons, held prisoner by suposed allies, shot at by said allies, and now hauling butt in a jacked space mobile!! This is insain!!!! > Marco yelled.
No one bothered to reply as they demorphed. They were all exuasted and stressed.
< We will reach orbit in one Earth minute. > Menderash informed them.
< Has anyone forgotten about the Jilarian defenses? > Tobias asked.
< I shall attempt to avoid any incomming dracon discharge's, and I have altered the defense fields of this vessel to make it hard to target using 20 Earth year old dracon weapon sensors. However, they may have weapons I am unaware of, and this shuttles technology is limited. > Menderash said.
" Good work Menderash. How long till we can jump to Z-space? " Jake asked.
The consol beeped.
< Hmm. It appears they rerouted their weapons targeting sensors through newer, more advanced orbiting sattelites. I believe they are attemping to lock onto our shuttle now. Brace for impact. > Menderahs said calmly.
" What? " Marco said.
BOOM! Sparks flew from the computer pannels of the shuttle. < Shields reduced 70% effectiveness. Aft sensor array severely damaged. And the forwad sensors have detected a fleet of vessels blockading Jilar. > Menderash said.
" Huh? Why dident they detect them sooner?! " Marco demanded.
< The shuttles sensors and data processing sub-units are limited, compared to even Yeerk technology. > Menderash stated.
" Is not much of Yeerk technology based on your on peoples technology? " Jeanne asked.
< What aspects they could wrap their primitve minds around yes. They managed to adapt some principles of our technology into other, less advanced cultures technology, but Yeerk technology is a pale, thin shadow of our own , far more advanced technology. > Menderash said as though giving a well rehearsed lecture. Sensors warned of a dracon beam that barely missed the shuttle.
" So why are they proving so difficult for your mighty race to annihilate? " Jeanne asked smugly.
< Sheer numbers and their infiltration capabilities have made it difficult to.... > Menderash was saying. < The fleet in orbit is moving to intercept us. > Menderash finished.
" Get us into Z-space! " Jake ordered.
< We must clear the gravity well of Jilar. The micro-fusion unit of this shuttle are operating past their suggested output level and the F.T.L drive of this ship is... > Menderash was saying.
<.....Limited. > Tobias finished for him.
< Prince Jake, eight small craft are approaching us at high veolocity. They will intercept us in 40 seconds. We will be Z-space capable in 60 seconds..... > Menderash said.
" What? Not our seconds? " Marco grumbled, interupting.
< ....Readings are sporadic...but I believe the energy signature I am detecting is some sort of holding beam technology powering up. > Menderash continued.
" Weapons! What ever we have, lets use it! " Jake ordered.
< Yes my Prince. > Menderash replied.
To be continued.