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Topic Summary

Posted by: Aluminator (Kit)
« on: September 18, 2017, 12:14:08 PM »

As the pounding footsteps draw nearer, Salem's hand inches towards his weapon. He stumbles slightly as he moves closer to the woods. His mind isn't working at its normal speed at the moment, so gauging distances and and the layout of the woods nearby takes more concentration than usual. By the time he decides to pay attention to the incoming footsteps again, he can no longer hear them. He freezes, listening hard, and squints towards the woods in the former direction of the sound. He tenses when the bushes rustle, but all that moves into view is an unusual creature he doesn't recognize.

"This is the Galaxy's Edge Space Bar," he responds absently to her question, still staring into the woods with an increasingly concerned look on his face. After a few seconds, he looks more closely at the creature that's just arrived. Bipedal with a rather impressive tail, armored, toothy-- pretty dangerous-looking, but capable of articulate thought-speech and even, it seems, politeness. Definitely an interesting one. There's no sign at all that he recognizes her as a dinosaur.

"I um..." he begins, then clears his throat. He smiles and begins again, though he's clearly still watching deeper into the woods. "My name is Salem. My species is what we call 'human,' which actually means very little here. This place is a... little bit of an enigma. My associate," he nods towards Ossanlin, "would call it... what, a dimensional nexus? Basically, it brings folks here from any universe it wishes." He smiles warmly, beginning to turn on his 'salesman' charm. "Welcome to the edge of everything."

In the meantime, Al sighs and turns to Mar, even as one hand rummages through the medical bag. He points at Ardiania "She called me an entertainer," he whines. "See this? You did this!" Al finds a tiny antiseptic spray bottle and holds it up briefly so Ardania can see it. He spritzes a small amount on his own skin. He mimes stinging pain, sucking in a sharp breath, followed shortly by a melodramatic re-relaxing of his muscles. "Brief pain," he says slowly, in Galard. He then turns the spray to her flank and lightly mists the abrasion there.

He picks up a dirty, scratched cylinder and pops off the top, revealing an off-white creamy salve, about half of which looks to have been used. As he pops in a hand and smears a layer, gently and deftly, on Ardania's flank, he speaks over his shoulder to Mar. "You're not too far off, actually. I'm not a human creation, per se. Different species, different time, but yeah, you're right, it sort of came down to a form of escapism, depending upon how you look at it." He pauses and scrutinizes his work as the salve cures into a crude, yet effective, flexible field bandage, and dabs a bit more on. "I was built as a companion. And as someone with whom to party. And in whom to confide. An inexhaustible source of positive social energy. There's not really a word for it in this language, but the action's more important than the definition." He squints at his makeshift bandage, curing in the cool air, and finally seems satisfied.

Al turns to Mar and shrugs with a smile. "Not to say robots never divert from their programming. Where I'm from, artificial intelligence allows plenty of room for personal evolution and growth, but I happen to enjoy being who I was built to be." He stuffs his supplies back into the bag and laughs. "Alright, Mr. Embodiment-of-Fantasy, ask the lady if she can make it inside. If she's going into shock a lie-down and some fluids are in order."
Posted by: Terenia
« on: September 16, 2017, 09:53:44 PM »

Ardania hesitates, stalk eyes still watching Al closely. <Yes,> she says to Mar, though the tone of her thoughts betray...not confusion, exactly. Something closer to incredulity. As if she expects him to be lying. <And you are the embodiment of fantasy, then?>
Posted by: Gaz
« on: September 11, 2017, 12:40:06 PM »

Morgan nodded. "Yeah, we did get into some trouble. Hopefully most of that's behind us now. It's been a few years since I was here last, and it looks like some familiar faces from last time aren't here anymore. Not that I was expecting to see them, but it would have been nice. After I left here I got a job as head of security on a space station."

"I was here briefly before as well," Julian said. "Stuck around for a little while after Morgan took off. Then decided it was time for me to go back to travel. Mr. Ed?" Julian got distracted overhearing Jeffrey at the end of his sentence.
Posted by: Shenmue654
« on: September 05, 2017, 06:07:12 PM »

"I thought so," Keshin says warily, trying to look directly at the minotaur but ultimately giving him only sideways eye contact. It was awkward. Keshin had no idea why he would know a minotaur, but he definitely had heard those names before. "You look familiar too. If memory serves, you guys got in a lot of trouble."

<<That's about as much as we know, ain't it?>>


"That said, we'd be happy to talk," Keshin says. "Find out more about you. That sort of thing. How are you familiar with the Bar?"
<Humans are an escapist species by nature,> Mar says with a slight bow. <Like Andalites, but much more so, as humans often have dull and unpleasant lives. Stories and fantasy worlds allow them to make sense of the world and their place in it. Humans turn against and regularly fight other humans, and there is no species-wide government or social system. This greatly necessitates the need for escapism, as the government does not provide all the purpose and fulfillment adult humans need. Neither do they have anything on the scale of your Great War to unite them. And so they dream of false worlds and fantasies to sate that lust. They even dream of one that occurs between Highest. And it is from that dream that I rise!>> He makes a slight bow. <I like to see myself as the embodiment of that longing, in many ways, milady. And by extension, so indeed is Al. He is a way for humans to find pleasure and recreation, among many other things.>

Mar twitches as he suddenly catches a strange thought speech line from a short distance away, along with a notably odd aura that he hasn't detected before. It's definitely sentient, and within the mortal coil, but what else it might be he's not certain of. Not human, of anywhere in the Tree, and so by extension not my problem, no? Although I have had something of an investment in outsiders, as well, ever since the Yeerk-Andalite War encroached on my territory. <You're on the asteroid that contains the Chancel of a Highest of unknown provenance,> Mar responds dutifully. <Highest as in "a god." We call Him the Bartender. The building is His, and we call it the Galaxy's Edge Space Bar. It seems as though anyone from any point in Time and Space can reach it, and from any universe in Yggdrasil. It also makes manifest the non-corporeal, excepting the dominant Highest. Does all of that more or less make sense, minus the superfluous details from me?>> Mar was beginning to realize that most of what he said, even in thought-speech, didn't really make much sense to mortals.
"Uhhh, quite a bit actually, but I don't know a whole lot about it," Jeffrey says, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly. He was a pretty skilled chemist so far as making concentrated serums and poisons went, but his knowledge of the changes to the human genome that had occurred since the Cataclysm were less than encyclopedic. "I know that the whole thing happened 'cause the Sun went flipping weird and got super radioactive, and that changed the genes of the survivors in a big way, but the details aren't hugely important for showbiz." Jeffrey shrugs and grins.

His grin gets a little bit wider when he sees that his twisted little set of powers are indeed affecting the creepy little accordion alien. Haha, no way. I'll have to take this little feature into account later. The **** blue deer only seemed to hesitate for like, what, five seconds? But this guy is gullible as ****, apparently! Jeffrey follows the creature, noting that his device seems to be reacting oddly to the Bar. Jeffrey wasn't sure what it was supposed to detect, other than fictional characters, but it was detecting a lot of it.

Jeffrey stops and then gapes for a moment at the two furries in front of him and the alien, clearly the real thing rather than human hobbyists. He points, squints, and then shakes his head and throws up his hands. He looks over at the alien and goes, "Could be, but I honestly think they're two different types. That one looks like a minotaur, and the other guy's got Mr. Ed for a freaking head."
Posted by: Terenia
« on: August 31, 2017, 11:49:04 PM »

Ardania listens to Mar's explanation, a puzzled look on her face. <Why would someone build an android for entertainment purposes? Does it serve to amuse children?>

Her question is interrupted by Al himself, when he approaches. She stiffens slightly, but his switch to Galard--or perhaps her encroaching lightheadedness--seems to calm her. <You speak Galard,> she acknowledges. <I...admit I am a poor interpreter of the language. I do not have a translator chip and only just began teaching myself. But if you speak slowly I am certain I can decipher your meaning.> She pauses, then adds. <Translator chips are only given to military personnel. It would be nice to understand any language. Think of how it would augment my studies! And I could...oh. I'm babbling, aren't I?> She blinks her main eyes slowly, realizing that her thoughts were getting away from her. Focus, she chides herself.

<Yes, medical help would be appreciated, Android Entertainer, if it is within your capabilities.>
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: August 28, 2017, 08:02:16 PM »

Truth Seeker's diaphragm made a deflating sound.  He was slightly disappointed, but not really surprised, that Jeffrey indeed thought he was crazy after all.  <As I said, they are not physical beings that we can directly perceive,> he said simply.  He was still looking down at his device, although now his redirected eye-contact seemed evasive.  Tempting though it was, he had learned not to argue with aliens who had such different views of the world than his own.  It never worked, and in any case, respect had to be given, before being earned.

The Cons-fi Reader was still steadily growing brighter.  It was already bright enough that the additional light obscured the glowing figures near the bookshelf that Truth Seeker had seen earlier.  The indigo light, as seen through the screen on the Iskoort's device, seemed to be coming from the walls of the Bar itself.  As though every visible surface was covered in the 'consciousness' energy that the Cons-fi Reader was designed to detect.

Truth Seeker looked up again, listening with interest as Jeffrey explained that the powers were a genetic quirk of his species.  As an Iskoort, he simply couldn't help but be interested in genetics.  Truth Seeker's own physical body was genetically engineered, after all.  <A genetic trait that is expressed differently among individuals?  That is incredible!  How much research has been done on the molecular genetic structures that would make that possible?>

At Jeffrey's words, a wave of familiarity swept over Truth Seeker, as though he was talking to an old and trusted friend.  Yes, of course, he had known Jeffrey for a very long time, hadn't he?  Long enough to know without doubt that Jeffrey would never, ever, lie to him.  Truth Seeker could relax in the knowledge that everything Jeffrey had told him was true.  Hmm.  So, if Jeffrey had expressed reason to be scornful of Truth Seeker's belief in the spirits of fictional creatures?  Well, then, that pragmatic viewpoint must also be taken to heart.

He looked down at his device again, which was now glowing bright enough to light up the Iskoort's features from below with an eerie indigo glow.  He frowned.  Why, exactly, did he care?  It wasn't like the glow necessarily meant anything.  Just a meaningless signal, perhaps an electromagnetic phenomenon.

The glass orbs on either side of the Reader started to glow, too, that same soothing indigo aura.  Brighter . . . and brighter . . . until it was painful to even look directly at the screen.  The orbs were becoming steadily warmer and warmer in his hands until they were uncomfortably hot, but he didn't let go.  Nothing could now be seen from the viewfinder, except for that searing bright indigo light.

Then, quite suddenly, with an audible snapping sound, the device went completely dark.

Truth Seeker didn't seem to care.

Truth Seeker looked up from his now-defunct device, only just now noticing the two new creatures that had entered the Bar.  Another new species of alien, and this one was dimorphic, it seemed.  Yes, they almost had to be the same species.  They had entered together, they were similarly colored, and their facial structure seemed almost the same, with one merely having a longer and narrower muzzle than the other.  The shorter-muzzled one also had horns, but such decorations were common in dimorphic species.

<Excuse me,> the Iskoort said questioningly to Morgan and Julian.  He was still unfamiliar with gender roles in other species, since the Iskoort had only one sex.  His gaze lingered on Julian.  <I hope I am not being rude, but can you tell me which of you is the female of your species?>


Dino sniffed the air again, as she drew closer to the scents she had picked up earlier.  She hadn't noticed at first, because she wasn't terribly familiar with Andalite smells, but one of the Andalites seemed to be injured.  Yeah, that was the smell of Andalite blood, alright.  There was a smell of Hork-bajir blood, as well, and although the scent was somewhat faded she could still tell that there had been a lot of blood from that one.  Hork-bajir blood, unlike that of an Andalite, was a smell she was unfortunately very familiar with.

She was getting close enough now that there was a very good chance she would be seen, even through the cover of the trees.  So she began to 'morph.'  Her friend, Kiphos (who had been born in space courtesy of the Skrit Na, and was thus quite gifted with alien technology) had managed to augment an Escafil device in just such a way that she was able to regain morphing powers, even as a nothlit.  Well, sort of.  She was still not able to change shape, but she was now at least able to change size.

Which is what she did now, focusing on the human DNA inside her and shrinking down to a much less intimidating stature.  Within a couple of minutes, she was a dinosaur the size of a person.  It made her nervous, intentionally becoming smaller and weaker, but she hoped it would cause her to be seen as less of a threat, and thus less likely to be attacked in the first place.  She hoped.

She wished she had a watch, but she hoped she would be able to judge two hours easily enough.  This ability of hers was a variant of the morphing technology, so there was no reason to think that the same rules wouldn't apply.

She took a deep breath, blowing the air through her nostrils with a sound like a sigh.  She moved through the trees to where she could actually see people.  Which meant that they would be able to see her, if they were looking in her direction, although there was still a few sparse trees between her and them.  She saw humans and Andalites, gathered around a ship, and it was from this ship that most of the Hork-bajir smell was coming, although she didn't see the Hork-bajir in question.

<Hey,> she said tentatively in public thought-speak, just loud enough to get their attention while hopefully being as non-threatening as possible.  <I, uh, hope I'm not interrupting anything, but I was wondering if anyone could tell me where I am?>
Posted by: Aluminator (Kit)
« on: August 27, 2017, 11:31:38 PM »

Salem's shoulders droop slightly-- though only slightly-- as he descends the ship's ramp and approaches the group gathering around Ardania. He continues his private conversation with Ossanlin, <<What I need from you, War-Prince, is something there's no way you'll be willing to give me if you think I'm only in this for profit, and no way you won't if you feel the insanity... the gravity of this situation.>> He sighs and looks Ossanlin in the eyes. <<I need information on Mark Three Dome Ships. Pretty basic information. Nothing... too compromising. I don't think. Physical layout and computer system framework information.>> He sighs again. <<I have no intention of putting any Andalite lives at risk, but I think a lot of the information I need is stored aboard the... aboard one of the fleet's Mark Threes. If this is what I think it is, I could potentially save a lot of good Andalite lives.>>

He shakes his head. He's being far from convincing, and between his exhaustion and his consistently-worsening headache, he doesn't really feel he's thinking strait anymore. <<I can send you some of the evidence I've found if you want to see this plot for yourself,>> he says lamely.

Al, in the meantime, digs a few more things from the bag as soon as Ardania mentions that she may be going into shock. "I am not," he says haughtily to Mar, "an entertainer." He laughs and looks to Ossanlin, "So we really letting this clown be my spokesman?" he asks, tilting his head to indicate Mar. "He's putting even more words in my mouth than I usually do."

He stands, a number of medical supplies in hand, and winks at Mar. "Kidding, of course. You're doing a... good job. Now translate for me until we get the lady patched up, in case she doesn't understand some of my mouth-words. Oy, Salem!" he calls suddenly, "see if you can figure out where those enormous pounding footfalls are coming from!"

Salem looks at Al, surprised. "Those are footfalls?" He glances around nervously and frowns when he catches sight of the... birds...? taking flight from the woods not far off.

Al continues working. He turns towards Ardania and switches to flawless Galard. "Please lie down. Be calm. Breathe slowly." He moves closer, a small aerosol-looking device grasped in his right hand. "I will treat your wound. This may hurt for a short time. It is safe."
Posted by: Gaz
« on: August 27, 2017, 12:50:53 PM »

"It's possible," Morgan replied. "I was here ages ago with a few others. Gaz, Dr. Asda, Fletcher."

"I was here to," Julian added.

"You came later. Shut up." Morgan commented. "Anyway. You look a bit familiar too, come to think of it."
Posted by: Shenmue654
« on: August 27, 2017, 11:16:13 AM »

Mar startles at this. He has basically never been asked to give an honest depiction of someone else's speech in his life. <Ahahah...well, well of course, milady. I don't think the cultural explanation will be...perfectly equivalent, but I will try. He's just explained that he's an android, and he is, I suppose, a fool. A jester. A comic that draws attention to the absurd. He described himself as a 'social ambassador, but he's really more of a...> Mar makes an exasperated gesture with his hands. <...party trick. Still...>

<He says that he has medical knowledge and that he could help you if you're ill. Not more than Ossanlin can do, but a quick patch-up is within his capability. He also says, I quote, 'Yeah, humans are short, violent little buggers.'> Mar shakes his head. <But don't believe him, he's an idiot. Yes, they don't have tails, and they are more violent than other species, but they do have to possess a justification for violent acts.>

Mar gave her a look of concern and again, that curious warmth. <But...if you're experiencing shock and fear, you should talk to the War-Prince and he may be able to sort things out. Whatever you've been through must have been utterly terrible. Take all the time you need.>
Keshin watches carefully as Jeffrey goes over to talk to the impossibly weird accordion hellscape creature, and just shakes his head. All of the responses he had had to either Counselor had been shot clear out of his head by that thing's appearance. "I suppose we'll just...get back to our..."

And that was when what was clearly a minotaur and an upper-bodied centaur walked in, and all sense of sanity this place had had fell clean out the window. The minotaur, for some horrifying reason, looked distinctly familiar--- Keshin had actually seen that particular coloration somewhere before. Keshin held up a finger and then crossed the room towards the minotaur.

"Do...do I know...you...?" he says hesitantly, fully aware of how ridiculous that sentence would be in most contexts before it leaves his mouth.
Jeffrey can't help a bit of a brief, cough-like laugh at what the creepy little alien was describing. Granted, he'd seen a revolving door of bizarre aliens since entering this place. "What, so....you're saying that like, ****ing Daredevil could just walk through the door and decide he wants to light everything on fire, in your belief system? That's...wow, that's special." Jeffrey chuckles with appreciation. "That is absolutely bonkers, little man."

"Still..." Jeffrey says, walking with him a bit, "I mean I come from a place where there are guys with real flipping superpowers, so maybe it's not as cracked as it seems. And nah, it's not everybody. In fact it's only like twelve or twenty percent of the whole population. I don't know the exact number. It's genetic, but nobody gets why, or how it happened. And the ones who have powers--- have all got different powers." Jeffrey's eyes glow vividly yellow, and he smiles at Truth Seeker, and suddenly Truth Seeker feels as if he has shifted very far back in time, because the voice he hears is one he trusts implicitly."This is mine. I can make people believe whatever I tell them."

"Whatcha' lookin' at there?" he says. "The Bartender? That dude creeps me out, man."
Posted by: Gaz
« on: August 23, 2017, 10:45:08 AM »

In through the door of the bar walked a 6 and a half foot tall man. What stood out about him was that he was like a minotaur, but had horse features instead of those of a bull. His dark mane was cut short, and his tail (if he ever really had one) was absent. He was a chestnut color, and wore knee length pants and a dark red sleeveless shirt. The actual minotaur was behind him. Standing near 7 feet tall, the minotaur was a slightly darker shade of brown. He wore a dark green sleeveless shirt which wore like a vest (the horns made traditional shirts a problem), and dark brown pants. Both were in excellent shape, mostly due to their professions.

"Ladies and....ladies!" announced the horse headed man. "Be still your beating hearts, for the most eligible bachelor in all the realm has returned!"

"Julian, you ass," commented the minotaur, who looked chagrined. "If you get decked by someone I'm not going to stop them."

"This is Morgan," Julian said as he indicated his companion, "and he's available too. What a charmer."

Morgan sighed. "Never mind. I'm going to punch you myself."

(Odysseus Morgan and Julian have returned!!!)
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: August 22, 2017, 08:04:04 PM »

In the forest about a quarter of a mile to the north of the Bar, a dinosaur appeared.  Simply appeared.  One moment nothing but forest, the next moment, dinosaur.  The dinosaur was generally tyrannosaurid in size and shape, with that boxy carnivorous face, the tiny arms, the thickly built yet bird-like legs.  But its tawny brown body was covered in light-grey-scaled bone nodules, and its tail ended in a bony club.  This was not a species of dinosaur that had ever existed at any point in earth's history.  It was, in fact, created from a mixture of DNA.  Tyrannosaur and ankylosaur blended together.

Danielle, who often went by the nickname 'Dino' these days, looked around, sniffing the air as she took in her surroundings.  This was not at all where she had intended to go when she had activated the- wait, hold on, where was the Time Matrix?  It should have followed her through space, to, well, wherever this was.  She looked around more frantically, not knowing where she was, and scared.  <Kiphos?  Amanda?  Nick?  Tukon?> she called out shakily, searching for her friends, who seconds ago had been touching the Time Matrix with her.  But she couldn't even pick up their scents at all.  Dino swished her clubbed tail anxiously back and forth, taking short panicked breaths as she thought about all the possible implications of the situation she had suddenly found herself in.

Had their casual use of such an ancient and powerful device finally caught up with them?  Had the Ellimist seen fit to take back what was his?  And, if so . . . what had He done with her friends?!

She turned her head, as her keen nostrils caught a distant scent of humans.  Not anyone she knew, but humans nonetheless.  Aliens, too.  There was at least one scent she didn't recognize, but she knew the smell of Andalites, Hork-bajir, and . . . velociraptors?  The velociraptor smell was fairly faint but unmistakable, whereas the human and alien smells were fresher.  And there were other smells intermingled with the living ones.  Rust.  Fuel.  Grease.  Alcohol.

Dino shook her huge head.  <What kind of place is this?>  She looked around again, as though hoping the Time Matrix might still be somewhere nearby.  For just a moment, her vision darkened, and she suddenly felt weak, her heart seeming to jerk violently in her chest.  But within seconds she was fine again, so she shook it off.

She looked again towards the scent of humans and aliens and raptors.  Well, that was as good a direction as any, wasn't it?  And maybe they could tell her where the hell she was.  Yet, she hesitated, wondered whether the people at this place might see her and attack.  Humans did not always react well to dinosaurs in their midst.  But knowing there were Andalites there too, reassured her.  Any humans who would hang around Andalites couldn't be too bad, right?  So Dino lumbered towards the smells of people, her footsteps causing tremors in the earth, as birds . . . or something like birds . . . took flight in her wake.
Posted by: Terenia
« on: August 18, 2017, 11:12:55 PM »

Ardania's expression is a mixture of fascination and unease as Al approaches, but she doesn't respond to his words. One stalk eye turns to Mar.

<Could you translate for the human-projection?> she asks him. <I'm afraid I do not speak humanese, and my understanding of Galard is rudimentary at best.>

She notes that she is beginning to feel lightheaded, now that the adrenaline of her arrival is wearing off. <Translate quickly, if you could.> Her thought-speak is calm, expression thoughtful. <I believe I may be entering the early stages of either shock or simply profound exhaustion. Considering I've crash-landed on a strange planetoid, lost my crewmates, and come face-to-face with a war-hero...not to mention my first extra-terrestrial creatures...yes, I do believe I may be entering shock.> She smiles with her eyes.
Posted by: Luke Skywalker (Ossanlin)
« on: August 14, 2017, 02:15:04 AM »

<Mar is right, these creatures are, or resemble, the human species from the M-Class planet they call 'Earth.'>

Ossanlin gestures at Al.  <Like I said, he's actually a robot with a sophisticated holographic projection, but he's generally not...well...unscru pulous like his traveling partner.>  Ossanlin spares a stalk-eye for Salem.

<<I tire of this game Salem.  Whatever you're trying to accomplish with this farce, it's not working.  What do you want of me?  No fiction...just an answer.>>
Posted by: Aluminator (Kit)
« on: August 13, 2017, 03:10:48 PM »

Al watches, bemused, as the accordion-like alien makes its way across the shipyard. "Ahhh," he says, "it's been a long, long time since I've seen a..." He frowns "Polkadon?" He snaps a finger. "Folk-music-ite!" He sighs and heads back into the ship. "Well, I tried."

As he walks by Salem, he holds up a hand for a high-five, which Salem meets absentmindedly. Al continues calling back to Mar even as he walks and gathers up his bag of medical supplies. "I have nothing but respect for you average working bot," he calls, "but some people like their artificial life-forms a little more... lively. I, personally, was designed to assist in fun, entertainment, friendship, fourth-wall breaks and bad puns. I was built as a party machine and a..." he laughs as he steps out next to Mar again, "social ambassador."

When Mar begins thought-speaking openly, Al turns to him and mutters, "Show-off," though his light tone and the grin on his face make it pretty clear he's joking.

He looks over at Ossanlin. "I'm afraid I can't offer much more in the way of field medicine than you can. Disinfectant and a quick patch. But I'm happy to help if I can."

He walks over to Ardania and sets down the bag a respectful distance away. "With your permission, of course." He keeps his voice and his smile gentle. Ardania seems to be holding herself together well so far, but if she's recently witnessed the deaths of her entire crew, there's no telling what emotional state she might be in, and Al has no intention of pushing things. He bends down and begins rummaging through the medical bag. When Ardania mentions the violence of humans, he chuckles. "Heh heh heh. Yeeeaaaahhhh, humans can be short, violent little buggers."

"I heard that!" calls Salem from inside the Mirage, which only makes Al laugh harder. Salem finally steps out into the doorway, where he can see Ardania. A civilian female out in the field. Wonder of wonders. He looks at her with curiosity. He's dying to know how she's ended up out here. He'll have to ask her if he ever gets the opportunity. For the moment, however, all he does is flash her a half-smile and say, "Not all of us are as violent as you've been led to believe. Though, yes, we are tailless bipeds." He rolls his eyes slightly. That, in particular, seems to be a real sticking point among Andalites, and it's a conversation he must have had a hundred times in the past.

He begins thought-speaking to Ossanlin again. <<Now you're catching on,>> he says, with a slight smirk. <<There's no obvious advantage to moving the Andalite military away from conflict. I don't know what the endgame of this movement is. The direction doesn't make sense. There must be a big piece of the puzzle I'm missing. Maybe more than one. I only know what my network has been able to piece together.>> He'll let that last statement stand as something of an insurance policy. If Ossanlin is Sector Seven, there's no way he'll kill Salem without acquiring more information about his 'network.' Or... so Salem hopes.

He sighs. <<There have been shifts in the news feeds and propaganda on the homeworld. There've been reports of the Andalites... losing battles.>> He closes his eyes and rubs his temples. Damn headaches... <<Only a few sporadic reports, but the seeds of doubt are being planted. Maybe you already know, but there's a quiet rumor growing among the troops that the top officials are planning to pull the fleet back to the homeworld. You know as well as I do that a rumor like that would have been remorselessly quashed a year ago. And from what I've seen, the whispers of that rumor are starting to spread among civilians as well.>> his eyes flick to Ardania, then back to Ossanlin. <<I see evidence that certain portions of Andalite strategy, formations, and intelligence are playing right into Yeerk hands. Palps. Whatever. Maybe you can interpret the data, but I believe I have evidence of at least two cases of good Andalite warriors being left to die before Imperial forces in order to spread doubt on the homeworld. I see subtle movements in the fleet that imply a shift towards defense, even as the they increase the number of scouting parties too small to defend themselves. It's only a subtle shift so far, but it is definitely happening.>>

He pauses and swallows. <<And... I believe my intelligence has uncovered the Andalites responsible for this shift.>> He swallows. <<Or at least some of the major players. But this is too big and too deep for me to handle all on my lonesome.>> He stares at Ossanlin, intending to do that 'stern judgmental look' thing that Al does so well, but Salem gets the feeling he's just coming across as tired.
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: August 12, 2017, 07:22:04 PM »

Truth Seeker looked at Yeden, the Iskoort having happened to catch the word 'Kandrona' from Yeden's exclamation, even if he didn't seem to notice the hand that had drifted to his holster.  Despite the sheer alien-ness of his features, Truth Seeker's emotions were almost comically easy to read in his bug-eyed face, and his look was one of surprised recognition.  Yes, he knew that word, but he could think of no reason why anyone other than an Iskoort would know it.  Iskoort, or at least the Yoort part of the Iskoort symbiont, required Kandrona for sustenance.  But Truth Seeker had never encountered another species that had any relation to the rare type of radiation.  No other species had ever even heard of it.

He was quickly distracted from those thoughts, however, by Jeffrey's answer to his query.  <I am sorry for the collapse of your society,> the Iskoort said solemnly.  Then he looked thoughtful.  <Yes, many species have fictional characters of the 'hero' archetype.  Beings who protect the weak.  But, you mention powers?  Your species truly has powers?>  He looked fearfully from Jeffrey to the other humans in the Bar.  <You can start fires with your thoughts?>  Truth Seeker had noted Jeffrey's differentiation between those with powers and 'normal humans,' but he hadn't picked up from context that 'human' referred to Jeffrey's species.

<As for my interest, it is mainly because these characters can sometimes emerge through these stories, from realities beyond this one.  Not as physical beings, of course, but as spirits.>  The Iskoort shifted his weight back and forth, seeming almost embarrassed, as the whine in his diaphragm reached an uncomfortably high pitch that wavered like nervous laughter.  He knew that this was the point where most aliens either believed him, if their species had similar beliefs, or decided that he was insane.  <Such spirits can occasionally cause harm to this reality, so they must be exorcised where they appear.  Knowing their true natures can sometimes help to either calm or control them.>

This thought reminded Truth Seeker to glance down at his Cons-fi Reader again.  He did have a job to do here, after all.  He took a couple steps in the general direction of the bookshelf, where most of the spirits seemed to be gathered, but then he stopped, tilting his head quizzically.  He had initially tried to tell himself that it must just be the way the dim lighting was reflecting off of the screen, but at this point he could swear that the entirety of the viewfinder was glowing indigo.  The same color that represented the consciousness fields the device was designed to detect.  The glow, which had appeared as an imperceptible haze when he'd first entered the Bar, was slowly growing brighter.  <That isn't possible,> he muttered to himself.  For some reason Truth Seeker felt like the Bartender was staring at him, but when he looked up, the strange, silent man was simply polishing a dry glass with a stained towel, looking at nothing in particular.