Contacting the Council [Terion]
A human-Controller came up to Leoff's station, saluting.  "Sub-Visser," he said.  "The Council will see you now."

<Patch it through to my quarters,> she replied.  <I will take it in there.>  And she took the dropshaft to the lower levels, to the room beneath the bridge; the captain's 'loft', so to speak.  Leoff stepped inside.  It had been Visser Six's, and Leoff hadn't really changed anything in there.  The bed was still made, the desk undisturbed.  She walked to the communications panel, preparing herself.

As soon as the Blade ship of Visser Six--Leoff was not going to get into the habit of calling it her Blade ship, not yet--had gotten to the relative safety of Yeerk space, she'd patched in a message to the Council.  She had requested their presence.  She had prepared what intel on the Andalites she could get from her host--shipping routes for weapons and supplies, patrol routes, troop placements, and the like.  She wanted to get this to the Council before the Andalites found out that Sarial was infested, and before things changed.

<<The Council of Thirteen,>> his host mused.  <<Few of our kind ever get to see them.>>  He was amused and intrigued.

Leoff, despite her host's natural optimism, was terrified.  She hid these feelings from the Andalite.  The destruction of the station was a blow in and of itself to the Yeerk Empire.  She could not help but feel guilty, and worried that her days were numbered--as a Sub-Visser, and as a living Yeerk.  It was her fault the hosts had escaped, her fault that they hadn't been captured, and her fault the station had been destroyed.  She had been the one to order Norpo to see to it, because Leoff herself was no technician; though part of her worried that had been cowardice.

She would have to see.

<Members of the Council,> she said, bending her host's knees and bowing low.  <Leoff-Five-Six-Eight submits to you.  May the Kandrona shine and strengthen you.>
[Image: leoff_sig.png]

There was silence for a moment on the other end of the communication, the faces of those on the other end in shadow, and then a female, human voice stated coldly, "The Council was unaware of a second Andalite host being taken, Sub-Visser Fifteen."

"Explain," came another in the deeper tones of a male Hork-Bajir.

"We would like to know as well why you have the Blade Ship of Visser Six within your possession," stated another, this one a human male. "As well as why you, a Sub-Visser, believe that you can summon the Council to speak to you upon a whim."

Leoff's Andalite host was perspiring, the Yeerk was so nervous.  She did not expect, now, that she would come out of this alive.  But she'd refused to go rebel, despite knowing how she'd failed and that she could be facing death by Dracon beam, or worse.  She listened to the Council's questions, and readied her replies, speaking the truth with every word.  Sarial was wondering about this Yeerk; was the Sub-Visser going to be executed?  Or promoted?  The Yeerk seemed to think the former, at this point.

<I...have intel.  From my Andalite host's knowledge.  He is of Princely rank.  I am forwarding the information to you.  I recently obtained him.  And I do not claim ownership of Visser Six's Blade ship, I was merely returning it after the...destruction of her station by Andalites.>  She pawed the ground, her tail swishing in her nervousness.  <The Visser is dead.  She was killed by her former host.  An oversight by me as I was taking this Andalite...>  Again, truthfulness.  The Council could always ask for a memory dump, and if she was caught lying, she would be in it far worse.  <My host and hers escaped.  I am not sure if they survived the station's destruction.  I had assigned some technicians once I learned the station was being infiltrated, but they did not manage to stop it.>
[Image: leoff_sig.png]

"Intelligence is a wise offer," commented the male human, "though it's usefulness must be determined before it is of use to you, Sub-Visser Fifteen." He then leaned forward enough that his jaw was out of the shadows, teeth bared in a sadistic smile. "To claim a Prince is a prize. What is the name of this Prince?"

"Later," snapped the Hork-Bajir. He then stated coldly (as coldly as the rough voice of one of the bark eaters could go), "We have heard of station destruction. A grievous loss to the Empire."

The human female laughed, sharp and high, at that. "We have others." Then she went quiet as she said, "We have other things we wish to know, Sub-Visser Fifteen."

"Such as how did the station fall?" asked a fourth voice, another male Hork-Bajir. This one did not have the slightly stilted speech of the other. "Who allowed such a fool thing to occur?"

The Council had asked for the name of the Prince Leoff had taken, but just as she was about answer, the Council stopped her.

Things would be worse if Leoff was caught lying to the Council. Kandrona starvation was the worst thing a Yeerk could face…though Leoff was stubborn enough that she would starve rather than die helpless outside of a host. She had already said that she felt she was partially at fault, but the truth itself was in the details.

<We failed to locate all of the Andalite saboteurs on the station, even with the knowledge my host possessed. They were unable to communicate with one-another, else I would have rounded them up. And there is the matter of how the Andalites got onto the station in the first place.> Her eyes widened. <Inram…> Inram was a friend to Leoff, but if he had been collaborating with Andalites…

Then why had he given her this Andalite? To distract her? Had he intended for her to die as well? <I believe my deputy, a Leeran-Controller, Inram Two-Four-Five, did this. I believe he was collaborating with Andalites, and intentionally ensured the station blew…>

She hoped she was correct; the memory dumps, surely, would tell.

<My host's name is Sarial-Langor-Donraff, by the way. He was in charge of the Andalites sabotaging the station.>
[Image: leoff_sig.png]

There was a quiet mutter amongst the Council on the other end of the communication in voices unable to be heard beyond themselves then the male human gruffly stated, "A traitor among our own is a disturbing matter. Particularly one who would aid Andalites." He sneered the name of the race with a fierce hatred that could be physically felt.

"Particularly one who held Leeran host," intoned the first Hork-Bajir. "If survived, could know secrets. Dangerous secrets." He then turned towards the screen, his massive shadow obvious even in the dark, and spat, "Does Inram Two-Four-Five live, Sub-Visser?"

The human female was tapping her fingers on the screen of a tablet, her jaw just visible enough as she leaned over to pick it up from the low table next to her. There was a vicious, cruel smile on her features and she finally straightened to say, "Prince Sarial-Langor-Donraff. I have not heard of this particular Prince but the Andalites have so many in their military since they lost their beloved Elfangor." She laughed darkly as she finished, "We shall see what he has done in his life before he made such a foolish move."

For a long moment the second Hork-Bajir was silent before he asked sternly, "No others managed to survive the destruction of the station?"

Leoff took a deep breath as the Council deliberated, flipping through Sarial's memories as she waited. Yes...someone had been collaborating with the Andalites, these memories revealed. Someone had let them through. It must have been Inram! And then he had turned on the Andalite...what was his game? She wouldn't believe that he was doing this for her. Risking his entire career.

Finally, their answer came. One of the Council asked, "Does Inram Two-Four-Five live, Sub-Visser?"

<He still lives, and is on this ship. And his feeding schedule is soon, making his capture much easier.> Perhaps when he was in the pool, he could be captured or killed, whichever the Council wanted. Leeran hosts were rare; she did not want to waste a useful host. Though...the host would know these dangerous secrets as well...

"We shall see what he has done in his life before he made such a foolish move."

<Of course,> Leoff replied. <I intend to submit a full memory dump.> And they would see this Andalite was voluntary, and why he had turned on his people.

Sarial wasn't yet impressed by the Yeerk in his head. He was hoping that this one would prove himself or that he'd be given to a more powerful Yeerk. He was wasted on a mere Sub-Visser...

"No others managed to survive the destruction of the station?"

<I do not know if the other Andalites have survived. Should I attempt to make contact to lure them in?> Leoff was leery of contacting Andalites without the approval of the Council. She was not a traitor. She was a loyal Yeerk and the only reason she would contact them was to get them as hosts for the Empire.
[Image: leoff_sig.png]

"Perhaps," replied the second Hork-Bajir. He then made a gesture with a massive clawed hand before he stated, "And what of your actions during the fall of the station, Sub-Visser? Where were you as the Andalites destroyed it?"

"We will speak to Inram Two-Four-Five as well," stated the male human in a chilly tone. "How we speak to him depends upon the answer to your actions upon the station."

She knew this was it, and Leoff, a loyal Yeerk, felt guilty that she hadn't done much more to help prevent the destruction of the station. <I was evacuating personnel to the Blade ship, and ensuring backups of files were directed to it.> They still, thankfully, had the files. That had been partially Leoff's doing, and partially the doing of a tech that had died in the explosion. She was no tech, though she now had an Andalite host-body. <I would have remained on the station to try and find these Andalites myself, but I did not want to risk losing this host-body.> The death of another captured Andalite would be a loss for the Empire.

She did not lie. There were people she would lie to, and Leoff knew the Council wasn't among those. Inram was only because he could read her mind. Her main eyes were on the screen, flicking between each Council member.

<His feeding is in 15 minutes. I could arrange to have him caged in the pool and ready for interrogation,> she offered.
[Image: leoff_sig.png]

The four Council members looked at each other for a moment before first Hork-Bajir stated, "An acceptable answer."

"The better action would have been to save the station itself," commented the male human harshly. Then he leaned forward, dropping his mouth out of shadow again to show off teeth bared in a menacing smile. "You, however, Sub-Visser, have brought knowledge back with you. That is the only thing keeping you from a harsher punishment."

The second Hork-Bajir sharply spoke then. "Capture him, Sub-Visser. We wish to look such a traitor to the Empire in the eye."

The human female smiled, just as menacing as the male as she purred, "And do it before he leaves his host. It will be that much easier to starve out the traitor if he is already so close to feeding."

"We wait," intoned the first Hork-Bajir. "Succeed and we allow survival."

"Fail," growled the male human, "and you will suffer the same fate as this traitor to the Empire."

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