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Oct 27, 2020 4:46 PM
Meanwhile, back at the ranch,
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Alloran is thinking that what if he's too broken to go home. He probably is. He should - give it a try, though. He owes his children that. If they're still alive, they're old enough to have enlisted.

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It's windy and hopefully she can blame that for the tears in her eyes. 

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Visser 3 exits Alloran's ear as soon as he's out, and is scooped and taken away. 

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...It's weird to think that's Mhalir, all of that, all of him, contained in a little wet slug. Leareth watches his staff take him away, and then turns back and waits at Emril's side for Alloran to wake up so they can cross to the pickup area. 

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Alloran wakes up. Goes with them, without saying anything.

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Leareth doesn't say anything either. He finds a spot to sit on the grass as soon as they stop moving. Nods to some of his people he recognizes but doesn't speak to anyone, he's too tired right now. 

They wait. 

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He is blind and mostly-deaf and there are sensations but so much more limited - thoughts, still, but less, constrained, penned in - and then - 

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They keep him in a tank because they're not sure when the shuttle's getting here, but it's not long. Maybe ten minutes. The woman is handcuffed because that's the rules for barely-vetted voluntary controllers in sensitive installations, last Yeerk said she wasn't hard to get along with but it'd be stupid to take chances. They raise Visser 3 to her ear.

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He senses that much. Slips in, spreads out, feels himself expand and be more again - not as much as before, but enough. 

<I apologize for the very sudden change of plan> he tells her as soon as he has that acces. <Today has been rather like that> 

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She became a detective because she wanted to solve mysteries and learn everyone's secrets and know a million things no one else did, and when the question was put to her - as a hypothetical, by a coworker - she said she'd absolutely want to be kidnapped by aliens because you'd get to learn about aliens and it has for the most part been fairly dry and boring and clerical, being kidnapped by aliens (detective work is also that way) but from the snatches of conversation she caught from her Yeerk, new Yeerk is an important alien. So that seems - promising. 

She's feeling vaguely self-conscious, now. It's the one-sided intimacy. It took her months to puzzle out her last Yeerk, what he wanted, how he worked. <No problem> she says. <Uh, nice to meet you?>

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<Nice to meet you. I am Visser Three but if you wish to refer to me by name> Alloran mostly hadn't wished to do that, <I prefer Mhalir. I will answer questions about myself if you wish, but I need to take care of something else first> 

And he opens her eyes and - doesn't have thoughtspeak anymore, damn, he misses it a lot. He gets the attention of the nearest staff. "I meant to ask and did not - can we send a message to the Andalite ship informing them that I voluntarily returned Alloran? I worry they are going to be very confused." 

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"Oh! Yes, of course, I'll message them now, if they haven't already figured it out, they Gated them all out just now. We didn't detect to where."

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Smile. It feels odd to smile with human lips. "Sensible of them." Leareth would approve. 

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His staff nods sort of despairingly at him. Their body language is a little easier to read, when he's in a human; they're all terrified.

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He wishes he could tell them everything is going to be all right, but he can't, because he doesn't know either. That's how gambles work. 

"I suppose we wait," he says. "And see what Leareth is able to do."

He asks a couple more questions about the other orders he gave, for the hypothetical proposal to free all involuntary hosts, and paces a bit in his new body to get used to it.

<So?> he says to his new host. <It seems I have a little bit of time. Questions?>

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There are additional aliens?? What do they want, what do they look like, do they have different advanced technology. (Do all advanced societies invent electricity? Computing? The wheel?)

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Aww, he really likes curious humans. Curiosity is, in Mhalir's opinion, one of the better emotions, and humans have such a nice flavour of it. 

He can push a mental image of an Andalite to her, tell her the name of their species. They have electricity and computing and are actually the ones who gave both to the Yeerks, but - well, it's complicated, and he doesn't know the Andalites' side of the story and hopes he'll find out soon. Short version is they ended up at war. 

Oh and also there are other humans! On a world that has magic! He expects she'll find that very intriguing. 

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....that makes so little sense! Did the other humans evolve? Why would the same species evolve in two places? Or are they a forgotten space colony or something? The Soviets - couldn't have done that, they could barely keep their astronauts alive on trips to low earth orbit, if they tried a generation ship and she wouldn't be surprised to hear they tried it then she'd expect it to be found drifting in space with everyone dead - 

- do they have all of the same animals, too?

- what does he mean by magic. 

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Mhalir also thinks that this makes no sense, but he's observed it directly, so. He describes the things he mean by 'magic'; some of it, like the Gates that imitate hyperspace jumps, might be explainable as some evolved innate ability to do things that here, only advanced tech can manage. But a lot of the rest is just baffling to him. 

Mhalir can't actually spend the next several hours explaining everything about Velgarth to his curious host, there's a lot to do, but he comes back to it in snippets whenever he can. It's actually really helpful, talking it through with another person when he can see all of her thoughts, notice where she's confused. See it again from fresh eyes, and...her perspective is objective, sort of, in a way his can't be, because she's not trying to win, here, she's not invested in her plans working. Just curious. 

And it helps pass the very uncomfortable period of waiting and not knowing. 

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