Nov 28, 2020 12:47 AM
yeerk ma'ar in golarion
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Further south, he'll pick out a medium sized city on the map. He wants to stay well away from the weird portal. 

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There are lots of medium-sized cities scattered along the rivers and coasts of this continent. Sensors detect nothing horribly unusual in their vicinity. They can head towards one chosen at random.

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He has them land a few miles out, again, so he can stun and acquire a local bird. Then, in morph, he flies over the city, scouting for a place to perch and observe what the locals are doing.

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The locals seem to be going about their mostly low-tech lives. There are humans, and people who look kind of like small humans but are fully grown and in some cases bearded, and people around human-height whose features are all wrong for humans, whose eyes sit in much bigger sockets and whose ears are big and pointy and batlike. Most of the people around are humans, though. They ride horses and buy things at open-air outdoor markets and call guards when someone steals bread from the open-air outdoor market. There are taverns where they drink. There are beggars on the streets, though the guards shove them along.

 

Occasionally, once it gets dark, there's a person who carries a glowing orb of light with no obvious source, instead of a torch. No one seems to think much of this.

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Odd. This place is so odd.

<I think if we find one of them alone and stun them, they do not have weapons or defenses that can counter ours. Tomorrow though, we can rest tonight.>

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This place has all of them ill at ease, but they agree to that readily enough. A billion hosts, people mutter to each other as they head up into orbit for the night. And no defenses, maybe even no long distance communications, so you could take them one city at a time. 

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Mhalir is not at all ready to conclude that the planet lacks defenses. He’s very confused, something incredibly strange is going on here. But promising, so it still seems worth the risk of exploring further.

They reach orbit. He paces, thinks, eventually sleeps.

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A list of sensor anomalies has been compiled by the time he wakes. There's the maybe-planar-tear with the forcefield around it. There are several places with bright non-electric lights, visible from space. There is one place with spaceships, six of them, on the ground, no corresponding technical infrastructure whatsoever. There's another potential planar tear somewhere else. There's a permanent hurricane spanning more than a hundred miles in width. There's a flying island with antigravity they don't recognize, it's not how Yeerks do it. (How Andalites do it, Alloran thinks loudly.) There are a bunch of areas that are radioactive. There are a couple other anomalies they've flagged and don't even have that much of a guess about what's going on. 

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<I would like to keep some distance from the anomalies, and snatch someone away from a large population area, but ideally someone who will be more informed on local conditions than I expect the villagers were. Do we have anything on travel routes between major cities, and whether some parts of them are fairly remote?>

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Most of the major cities on these two continents are on the ocean, and interact with each other by sea. Some of them are on a river, instead. There are plenty of towns that are fairly remote, but those also seem less likely to have someone informed on local conditions; the biggest cities are the most centrally located and also have the most mysterious anomalies. There are some land routes between major cities, but the locals seem to travel in reasonably well-guarded groups, probably because the local wildlife looks astonishingly dangerous.

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<What about the ships traveling by sea? Are any of them smaller and less well-guarded?> 

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There are lots of ships travelling by sea, and many of them don't appear defended.

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<I would like to approach one of the undefended ships, then. If the shuttle stays cloaked in the air, I can fly down in morph and identify a target. Ideally we will be able to stun and grab someone without any of their shipmates observing it, but we ought to have the resources to capture the entire ship if that does not work.> 

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They can pick out a ship that's a long ways from shore, so if they do have to capture it they won't be observed and should have a long time before its loss at sea is noticed.

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Mhalir stuns and captures a local bird from the coast to acquire the morph, and with the shuttle hovering and cloaked, he morphs and flies down nearish the ship. The bird has excellent eyesight. He watches what the crew on the ship are doing, paying particular attention to whether they have any of the odd possible-advanced-technology, and whether any of them are alone on a section of deck out of sight of others. 

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The crew is doing entirely normal things for a late-eighteenth century ship, not that he'd necessarily recognize them; plenty of them are on the deck alone at one point or another, standing lookout or carrying a message or adjusting the sails.

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He's in thoughtspeech range of the shuttle, and can direct them close enough - while still cloaked - to stun one of the deckhands standing lookout and haul them up to the shuttle, while Mhalir in bird form watches from the mast to provide a warning if any of the other humans notice. 

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One of the other humans notices! He looks - less shocked than you'd expect, really, but he still boggles for a second before he calls an alarm. 

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<They've noticed us. We need to stun everyone on the ship as fast as possible in case they do have some way of passing rapid messages to other ships, I am not ruling that out.> 

He looks for a secluded corner to demorph; an Andalite body is going to be more useful for a full-on assault on the ship than staying as a bird. 

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There's plenty of areas without people, though that's quickly changing as an alarm is shouted and a bell rings and people emerge from the decks.

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He doesn't want to be caught off guard halfway through demorphing. Mhalir will wait, watching from the mast in bird form, until the pilot and other crewmember on the shuttle have made it down and one of them can cover him and stun anyone who comes into sight. 

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Some of the people, stunned, go down immediately. 

Some of them don't! They shrug it off and charge, with swords! Elsewhere someone takes off into the air and coats the air around the ship with - glitter, it looks like, trying to figure out where it is even though it's shielded.

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Mhalir isn't very surprised but he is mildly irritated. 

<Try to stun them again and if they still do not go down then turn up the Dracon beam setting> Mhalir orders, fluttering down to land behind the pilot so he can start demorphing and have the ability to fire a Dracon beam himself, as well as a tail-blade. <Can we send a message up to the ship specifying that we have run into complications> he adds. 

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The shuttle is notifying the ship of this! Most of the people who can't be stunned still seem to die of getting a hole burned through them; the flying one dodges and then goes invisible and then suddenly their surroundings on the ship are all burning up in an intense sudden fire (Alloran is delighted) -

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<Can any of the shuttle's sensors see through their cloaking> Mhalir demands, finishing the demorph and holding out his hand for the spare Dracon beam that the pilot should have brought for him. He remembers where the flying one was and what momentum he had, Andalite brains are very good for spatial awareness of their environments, and he tries shooting at the possible paths the human could be following, Andalite reflexes are good for that too. 

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