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Dec 16, 2019 8:46 AM
Heartbreaker Naruto falls on Animorphs
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The dog would like to sniff him curiously and then demonstrate her approval. Her approval is licks.

Derek leads them into the house. It looks well-maintained, although the numerous paintings of dogs might strike those with more refined tastes as tacky.

"I should have asked sooner if you were comfortable with dogs. We have five with us right now."

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"I'm perfectly fine! Some don't really like me, but I don't take offense."

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"They're good judges of character."

The terrier follows, apparently quite happy to have someone new in the house. If the paintings are tacky, the rest of the house is oddly bare. Derek has apparently taken minimalism to the extreme, with white walls, no seating, no clutter, and...

Several dogs, as well as the accoutrements any devoted dog owner would provide them.

"It depends on how you want to spend the day, but I'd like to get home before my wife does. Other than that, I'm all yours. Just tell me where to go."

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"...Probably best to not have me interacting with people too much..." he says, though he sounds a bit sad about it. "Guess we could explore some of the area, maybe people-watch?"

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"Alright. I think the idea should be to familiarize you with any big, obvious differences between your world and this one. I'll walk you around town and you can get used to how things work- probably just cultural norms, since you're a human from Earth with basically the same history. Any opinions on lunch?"

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"I like noodle shops, for lunch. And yeah, that makes sense - I'm also Canadian, so there's probably some national differences."

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So Derek gives him a tour of the town. Here's the school, which besides educating children also hides an entrance to the Yeerk pool. Here's the mall, which besides selling wares also hides an entrance to the Yeerk pool. Here's the McDonalds, which besides feeding customers also-

Until finally they arrive at a noodle shop.

"Globalization makes this a lot easier. I hate hot dogs, which was all we had besides jello salads. America owes me an apology for jello salads, but I'll take noodles."

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"You guys are probably ahead of us on globalization - we have, uh, shipping problems."

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"How bad is it? The summary I got amounts to 'supervillains exist'."

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"There's monsters that show up and destroy a city every few months, a lot of countries have collapsed and are under supervillain rule, there's supervillain organizations that kill with impunity even in the United States... And Canada's only a little better run. I'm doing what I can to fix it - I managed to get one of the worst supervillain groups under my control so they're neutralized - but it's... Slightly a losing battle, in many ways."

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"It sounds like they really need you back home. Are the governments trying anything to stop this, or are those gone?"

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"Lots of places still have some kind of government. Sometimes that government's warlords, but - Canada got pretty lucky, there. The governments, and parahuman organizations like the Protectorate, are trying to reverse things, but they don't seem able to do much."

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Noodles!

Derek pensively eats his noodles.

"These monsters, they're trying to destroy the world?"

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"We don't know? If - I think if they were seriously trying, they could do it, and we wouldn't be able to stop them, but the world's gonna get close enough to destroyed within the next few decades anyways..."

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"You should assume the powerful aliens are going to destroy the world. It gives you more freedom to act against them."

Noodles!

"The Yeerks don't just want to subjugate humans. They also plan to end most animal life on the planet because it annoys them."

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"That sounds kind of stupid and self defeating!"

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"Not self-defeating. Just pointlessly wasteful. Humans will survive on what they keep around until there's some kind of ecological collapse, and the Yeerks themselves just need the light of their sun, which they replicate with generators. There's a Kandrona generator somewhere in this city."

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"Yeah. If they want human hosts specifically though - well, it sounds like the Yeerks maybe aren't good at long term planning."

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"They might not be. I don't know much about their history, but the only other hosts we've seen are Hork-Bajir and Taxxons, and the latter cannibalize each other. They might not be used to human dietary needs."

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"Yeah. And we've pretty much already established they're hostile aliens... Still, I'd like to get their perspective. At least to get into their heads, you know? Why they think they're doing this."

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Nod. Noodles.

The conversation turns to current events. Here are the things most people will be talking about: sports, politics, celebrity gossip...

And then he starts telling Nereus about the Sharing. They're sort of a combination of the YMCA and the Scouts, near as he can tell, with some added cult flavor. It's a major recruitment method for Yeerks.

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Yeah that sounds kind of creepy and shitty! There's supervillains that do recruitment like that. It's - annoyingly effective.

He might be able to do some kind of counter-meme thing, if he's careful? But it sounds like directly hitting the Yeerks might work out better.

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Might be. He can't meet a Yeerk until they have one, though, unless he wants to just target some random people on the street.

When they're done with their noodles, Derek will tell Nereus horror stories from the classroom. Apparently, high school students turn in very disappointing but entertaining essays in history class. Also, teenagers are awful and they hate every minute of it! Here's some embarrassing teen drama with the serial numbers filed off.

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He's very glad to be no longer a teenager! He can tell some similarly weird stories about the sorts of bizarre psychologies capes have, though usually this is from observing them or hearing the news and not participating.

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Entertaining, if mildly concerning. Derek elects not to share the more private things students have confided in him (apparently, he's reasonably attractive and that makes them more likely to see him as a trustworthy repository of secrets).

They can pop over to buy Nereus some clothes. Derek can cover it for now, since Nereus doesn't have a legal identity and is probably going to save the planet, and Derek has more money than he knows what to do with.

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