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Oct 20, 2020 2:07 AM
Meanwhile, back at the ranch,
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Visser 3's staff does not need to be told to get the best available medical care right there right away. 

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He wants her brought to one of their hospitals, obviously. This shouldn't be hard because most of the ambulance crews are theirs, and the fire department and police department - important infrastructure, they see a lot of people in the privacy of their own homes. Search the car's wreckage thoroughly, and her body, though probably if she did have a similar weapon on her the crash would have set it off. As soon as she's medically stable, have her infested so he can find out what the hell these people are doing and how. 

He paces. Waits to hear back from that team, and from the various operations now happening in a number of other cities. 

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Reports trickle in over the course of the next hour. The operations in a number of other cities find empty apartments and houses. They have clothes for a handful of people, food in the fridge or the cupboards. Eclectic collections of toiletries in the bathrooms. In a couple cases they find fake ID cards and passports, and in a couple cases they find handwritten notes in an unfamiliar language or maybe in code (they are working on cracking it). 

 

In Miami there was another hyperspace-jump-like thing. At the point of origin there is a car, with the front door open, parked atrociously badly on the side of the road. 

 

The captured enemy is medically stable. They're sending someone in. 

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Enstat slips in through her ear and settles in.

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Emril is confused and drowsy-half-awake with drugs - something hurts but it's very far away and everything is all floaty, which makes it sort of hard to care about tracing down what happened and where she could be now. 

She tries anyway, blearily. Seems important. Car from oncoming traffic, swerving into her - the white-hot explosion behind her–

Oh no, it's not at all a good thing that she's awake is it - she tries frantically to sit up and she can't and she tries to open her Thoughtsensing and - can't do that either - reaches to stop her own heart but her Healing no longer obeys her, which is what's supposed to happen but gah she's mad about it now. 

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"- this might be urgent enough that I should report from here and not after I leave," says Enstat in Spanish. "She doesn't speak Spanish."

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"Yes, of course." And under a minute later someone has the Visser on the phone, in human morph. 

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"Go on." 

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"They have literal actual magic. There's another planet with humans on it and some of the humans there have magic and the Andalites formed an alliance with an entire army's worth of them and some of them can explode at will and most of those ones can also make magical doors point to point and some of them can do mind control or mindreading and the one I've got now has the mindreading and also what they call 'healing' but would be better understood as general biokinesis."

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He breathes in a little but otherwise doesn't react much. "I see. Thank you for making the call to report immediately. Is the 'exploding at will' what happened at Dupont Circle earlier? It would have been her colleague." 

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Emril doesn't understand the question because it's in Spanish. She's also trying to lean into the drugged grogginess and not have any thoughts. 

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"She thought so at the time, yes."

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"How many of these humans are on Earth currently, to her knowledge, and who is in command of them?" 

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"She expects there are a few hundred magical humans here, reporting to a commander called Leareth who she knows to have the gates-exploding-and-generalized-spellcasting ability, the mindreading ability, and the thoughtspeak ability. There are also one or more magic horses because they have brought in some allies from a different command structure that involves magic horses."

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He has so many questions but, priorities. "Does she know the location of their base, that the small groups stationed in various cities would have evacuated to." 

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"Alaska. She couldn't point it out on a map but it's an abandoned mine."

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"One moment." This isn't especially surprising but it lets him make his earlier orders a little more informative - get the location of every abandoned mine in Alaska, especially near Juneau and Anchorage, review sensor coverage for minor blips not previously noted as relevant but that may be close to one of the candidate mines, make plans to move agents to Alaska but do not engage yet. "Thank you. What other kinds of capabilities do their forces have as a result of the generalized spellcasting ability - uses in combat, defence, spying...?" 

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"...a lot. They can tell whether there's a Yeerk in someone with mindreading from a variety of ranges, blocks to up to miles, those of them with that ability, and pick up surface thoughts from us and the host alike. Generalized spellcasting has offense including lightning and fireballs and demon summoning, assorted defensive shields, trap spells. Some spells can be applied to artifacts and carried by other people but need recharging. Their strongest thoughtspeakers have a range of a few hundred miles; there's a longer-range spell the casters can use. There's a separate ability that can telekinese or teleport things, increasing in difficulty if they're going far or the thing is heavy. There's an especially rare ability that is called 'mind healing' but like the biokinesis healing is better understood as fairly general mind editing; there aren't many of those but Leareth's second in command has that and the general spellcasting one and my host is terrified of her. - in a general sense; they have good unit discipline. Both the casters and mind healers can force people to do things, including Yeerks separately from hosts and vice versa, possibly in ways that persist on a host after infestation but fortunately mine right now can't explode."

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"What does she know about the Andalites involved and the resources they are bringing in here?" 

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"They have a Dome ship and some shuttles. She's heard the names Matirin and Cayaldwin and Rilem, there are more but she can't tell them apart well enough to guess how many and hasn't seen them in very large groups. At least twelve."

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"Noted. I assume she was deployed to do reconnaissance in Washington and made reports back to their base. What has she observed of our operations here?" 

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"They know about the president. This one knows the location of the northwest pool. She wouldn't expect to be receiving a lot of intel, they probably know a lot more."

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The Visser starts to ask another question, and then there's a loud alarm in the background, and he cuts off. "–Written report," he says, very fast, and then the call ends with a click. 

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Enstat starts writing. (In Spanish.)

<Hi Emril,> she remarks while jotting down estimates of the prevalence of various Gifts.

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Why is the brain slug talking to her. She didn't think they cared at all about the people who used to own the bodies they were wearing. 

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