[TEXAS] Contacting the Andalites
They had a z-space transponder from his old, crashed fighter. It had been far too damaged to fly (and the sight of such destruction had been pretty triggering to Forlin) but the group had managed to strip it for parts. And now, they were ready to contact the Andalites...and ready to flee if the Yeerks caught on. They were sure they could mask their signal very well. And thanks to a Chee, they even had visuals.

< I'm ready, > Forlin said, nervously. And they switched the device on. The turquoise Andalite took a deep breath through his nose-slits, glancing at the sky with his stalk-eyes for a moment. His main eyes were focused on the display the Chee had brought up.

The image was blurry at first, but the Chee adjusted the settings, and the form of an Andalite appeared before them, his eyes narrowed in suspicion. There was a moment while he seemed to glance over a HUD, and then he spoke. It seemed he'd identified what specific fighter the signal had come from. < Warrior Forlin-Langor-Chulain, > he said. < You were reported killed on Earth, but here you are. Explain. >

Forlin stepped forward. < I was trapped on Earth with no way of contacting the Homeworld, > he said. He wasn't going to mention he'd lost his memory. They'd probably think he was a vecol and refuse to talk to him. At least he had Ax to help him fill in the blanks so that he didn't act strange. < Only now were we able to contact you, with spare parts from my crashed fighter. >

< 'We'? > the Andalite queried.

< We, as in the Earth Resistance, > Forlin said. < Now, if you wouldn't mind, I would like to speak with my family. >

Sitting in a wooded glade in Texas seemed like a shitty place to have a conversation but the Resistance had always made do with what it had.

Ren sat on the ground with his back against a tree just outside of the view of the Andalites on the screen that the Chee with them had managed to put together. He had always been fond of the androids who were present in base and those he'd met out in the world. They typically knew what he was talking about and were the original constructors of the Resistance computer network.

Not to mention they knew alien tech way better than he did.

He, though, knew how to keep an eye out for shit.

While the Chee handled keeping the signal intact, Ren connected to the system they were powering everything with via his laptop and kept a weather eye out for other things. Like Yeerks suddenly paying attention to a signal into Z-Space that wasn't theirs.

Though he could fix that with a little...distraction...if need be. He'd have to burn his current phone after since he was tethering on it for internet service but it wasn't under his real name anyway.

Grinning to himself, Ren tapped his fingers on his keyboard and brought up every hook he had into local Yeerk signals to keep an eye on them. He gave a brief thumbs up to the Chee that Forlin could probably also see and mouthed All clear.

Ax remained nervous about this entire situation but he hadn't wanted to argue with Forlin wanting to go searching for his missing fighter. The other Andalite hadn't recovered anything more than minor memories since their first meeting and this might be the one chance they had to learn something.

Still...he was nervous.

The last time the Resistance had used a Z-Space transponder to contact the Andalites, they had only long enough to state Earth resists. He knew, he'd said the words right before he'd cut the signal in order to flee to escape the approaching Yeerk forces while Rachel screamed in his head to get the hell out.

< Drele, > he sent to his second, who was out amongst the circle of Resistance members who had surrounded the glade they were in. Half of them with defensive morphs at the ready and the other half in some sort of bird of prey to keep eyes out.

< Yes, Aximili, > the Hork-Bajir replied. < Is something wrong? >

He just chuckled through thought-speak and replied, < Just looking for reassurance that we aren't going to regret this. >

Drele laughed dryly back at him and said, < Worry too much. We are fine, Aximili. If such changes, I let you know. Will scream. >

Ax resisted the urge to cover his main eyes with his hand. < You have hung around with Sidin and Marco far too much when they are actually around. >

< They amuse me. Sidin is good...for Yeerk. >

High praise from Drele, who typically hated anything Yeerk. Shaking his head, Ax sent, < Safe watching, Drele, > before he focused back on what was going on. He could see the Andalite on the other side of the screen from his position but knew they couldn't see him. Ren, sitting on the other side against a tree, had told him that it was a good place to stand and watch without getting spotted unless he wanted to.

There were a few moments of delay, and Forlin was nervously standing as he waited, tapping his hoof on the dirt.  Then another Andalite appeared.  < You are speaking to War-Prince Amroth-Herian-Sarass. >  A War-Prince?  Why was he taking up this matter?  What about Forlin's parents?  < Before I can route you over to your family, you will give me an update on the situation.  What is happening on Earth? >

This was good, wasn't it?  Maybe the Andalites would do something.  < It's very bad, sir, > he replied, looking to Ax.  < The Yeerks, as you know, have multiple fronts, and there are five major pools on Earth.  We resist where we can, but we don't have the manpower that the Yeerks do, and they are getting more and more bodies every day. >

Ren jerked his head up from the screen as he heard War-Prince. They relegated a fucking War-Prince?

He looked over at Ax but the Andalite had all four of his eyes on the screen, focused in on what was going on there. Though, after two years, Ren had gotten the hang of reading Andalite body language and he could tell he was also concerned.

Though Ax might be concerned that it was Forlin talking to them.

A War-Prince.

A War-Prince.

Ax had to force himself to take a steadying breath and kept all four eyes on the screen as the other Andalite appeared. His entire body was tense from the fact that they had so quickly gotten contact with a War-Prince as well as his worry about Yeerk forces coming down upon them.

He had to put his trust in their people to keep them safe, however, and not let worry freeze him up. Forlin was a Resistance member, yes, but he was not privy to all of what went on inside it.

Ax was.

Forcing himself to relax, he stepped into frame as he said, < This is not the fight that it was years ago when we attempted to contact you to say we still resisted. Or even what it was when I managed to contact you before that. > He watched the War-Prince's face go a little pale, his main eyes widening before he could stop the reaction, and knew why. A ghost had appeared before him.

Before the Prince could get the wrong idea about who he was, he bowed his head and added, < Aristh Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthil, War-Prince Amroth. >

< Elfangor's brother, > came the reply from the War-Prince, his eyes narrowed now. < It was assumed you had fallen after you were not heard from again. >

< No, > replied Ax, lifting his chin slightly, < I continue to protect my home, as a warrior should. >

Forlin was relieved when Ax stepped into view, taking over and filling the War-Prince in. He noticed that Ax called Earth 'home', and Forlin agreed. Earth was home, for both of them. The War-Prince, however, frowned with his eyes. Forlin could see it in his expression.

< Apologies, War-Prince Amroth, but we do not have much time. The Yeerks will eventually track this signal. We take a great risk, calling you, > he said, glancing worriedly to Ax.

The Andalite gave a bob of his eyestalks. < Warrior Forlin, > he then said, voice turning grim. < I also bring you important news, concerning your father. >

Forlin blinked. < What happened? Is he okay? >

< Your father, War-Prince Sarial-Langor-Donraff, has been taken by the Yeerks. He is a Controller. >


It took a minute for Ren to register that it was him that had said it. That his chest was tight in a mix of empathy and old, wounded pain from knowing his father was no longer his father.

The War-Prince on the screen couldn't see him and Ren couldn't exactly leave his computer to try and comfort his friend. Which would probably look bad to the Andalites they were talking to but fuck them anyway. Instead he focused on his friend and said, "Forlin, man...I'm sorry."

He wanted to go on to say that he knew, knew that gut-wrenching pain of loss of a father to the Yeerks but he didn't. Ren would save that for when they didn't have assholes up in their shit, bringing shitty news out of the blue.

If they didn't need to talk to them, he'd probably have signaled for the Chee to cut the signal.

The War-Prince looked annoyed at his declaration but Ax didn't care. Earth had been his home since he'd been rescued by the other Animorphs and he wasn't going to abandon it now. Not when it needed him the most.

He still held his allegiance to his people but they were not his home.

And then the other Andalite dropped what Tobias would have called a bombshell.

Stepping forward so he was level with Forlin instead of standing some space back, Ax sharply asked, < This is certain, War-Prince? >

< There are three witness reports, aristh, > he replied, his tone sharp in a way that said he was attempting to have Ax remember his place. But the two Princes Ax had followed were gone - one to death, one to Yeerks - and he would not bow his tail to another who had not earned his loyalty. < Prince Sarial has become an abomination. >

Forlin felt like he was going to be sick.  He kept mulling over what the Prince had said.  He was rendered speechless as Aximili responded.  The father he'd only known in the small hologram he kept...was a Controller.  He heard Ren speak.  Of all of them gathered here, Ren would know exactly how that was.  The same had happened to his father.

He brought that small hologram out, stared at the joyful family of three standing together.  Forlin, Sarial, his mother, and his little sister.  He had committed their appearance to memory.

< Prince Sarial has become an abomination. >

What should he say? What should he feel? He didn't know the answers to these questions. He held little attachment to the man that was his father...it was as if he was a complete strange.  < Do you know what Yeerk took him?  Where he is right now? >  His hearts were beating fast.  And he was no longer nervous about talking to the War-Prince–he didn't care if he stumbled.

< A Yeerk we know as Sub-Visser Fifteen.  The situation ended in the destruction of a Yeerk space station. We do not know where he is. >

< What about my mother and sister? >

< Your mother is no longer living, > the War-Prince answered, staring at Forlin, tone indicating he should already know this. As if it had happened a long time ago. < And your sister is healthy and alive. >

His mother, dead. His father, a Controller. Forlin's expression was incredibly sad. < I want to speak with her, > he said.  < And I would like my file...if you have something like that. >  The Prince nodded his eye-stalks, and something began to download to his datapad. His file, he hoped. He picked it up when it finished, but his focus remained on what was before him.

The image went dark.  Then the image of another Andalite appeared.  It was not, however, his sister.  Forlin's tail twitched in annoyance.

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