Asthirin-Tinviar-Lirill trots into his assigned suite. Oh good, there's a grass dome for him! He trots towards it eagerly and tucks his legs under him, enjoying the feeling of soft grass against his fur. He sways back and forth gently, his front-eyes closed and his stalks waving lackadaisically in no particular search pattern. A man could get used to this.
Asthirin.exe has ceased responding.
Hornet shrugs. "If the monarch is worth deposing, her being a revolutionary is at least as fun a fact as Bird not needing to eat brains anymore."
"Try not to fall over," she advises Asthirin.
To Hornet, she says, "Technically not a monarch but the Council sure does need to go down. Even if I wasn't mad about all the brain slavery, and, to be clear, I am incredibly mad about all the brain slavery, they're also just fucking morons—yes, yes, I know it's cultural and makes sense in context, the fact remains that if you keep murdering your own people whenever they fuck up you're going to slowly destroy your own economy, which is exactly what's happening—sorry, I should explain all this instead of babbling, I'm not used to talking to people who can't read my mind."
"Yes, rampant murder is often strategically inefficient," Hornet says in an extremely bitter tone, almost as if she is already personally familiar with this class of problem.
"So the Yeerks, Tillin's species, are ruled by the Council of Thirteen, who are trying to take over the galaxy so they can enslave everyone and breed them as hosts, because they're brain parasites. In fairness to them, being a hostless Yeerk really does suck. In unfairness to them, so does being a host. —Speaking of which," she addresses Asthirin again, "we're gonna steal morph tech from you so that when Tillin crushes the Thirteen we can make half the Yeerks permanently morph something so the other half can get in their heads."
"Aaaaaaaa," he says neutrally.
"I mean, do you have a better solution? Hint: don't say genocide."
"What's morph?" says Bird curiously.
"I wasn't going to say genocide!!! I - morph is the most powerful and versatile technology the andalite race ever developed, it allows you to transform temporarily into a creature of another species, it's why I look like a human instead of like a large blue alien. I would like to try to think of a better solution to the Yeerk empire than handing out our only relatively uncompromised weapon against further Yeerk perfidy, given that the last time we gave the Yeerks technology they massacred the science team observing them and used that tech to found the Yeerk empire."
"Oh I want it!!!!" she says, bouncing excitedly. "I want to turn into creatures!!!!"
(Pel snickers, an interesting sound coming from a Hork-Bajir.)
"Andalite High Command frowns very intensely on the sharing of technology. Because last time we did that, the Yeerk Empire happened."
Hornet snorts. "That's an idiotic policy. It's like saying that because figs contain parasitic wasps, fruit should be banned."
"So I see what you're saying, but we're all here to learn mind control," Pel points out to Asthirin, "after which Tillin and I are going to go home and wreck the Council's shit, and then we're going to have to figure out something to do with however much of the Yeerk Empire is left at that point, and if we let Andalite High Command make that decision, the answer is definitely going to be genocide regardless of your personal opinion. Also, Bird is adorable and I think she should get to turn into creatures."
"I already turned into a human and it was the best thing that ever happened to me! I want to turn into all the things," she says dreamily.
"...Can I make this decision slightly later than fourteen minutes after I met you, please."
"I mean, like I said, I was planning to steal it," shrugs Pel. (A Hork-Bajir shrug is a mildly intimidating sight.) "Or did you mean Bird, or was it sort of a general protest?"
"I am not good at time," says Bird. "There are too many rules and no one will explain what they all are."
"I don't have a damn morphbox on me, so you'll have a time of it. I could retrieve one from my 'neighborhood', and might actually do so if you really impress me on the 'no perfidy' front. You could not, because there is significant anti-Yeerk security around that box and also if you want any cooperation out of me ever then you will not betray me."
"I am not a Yeerk," says Pel, "and, again, am here to learn mind control. If it's in your neighbourhood I can get it. I was planning to steal it because I assumed you would be an asshole about it if I asked nicely, and, to be fair, you sound like you might actually be less of an asshole than that. Are you? Or are you just stringing me along?"
Bird walks up to Pel, reaches up with both hands, grabs her by the beak, and holds it firmly shut.
"Stop being a grump," she says seriously, "or the nice penis boy will not let me turn into creatures."
"Allow me to answer your question with another question," Asthirin says quietly. "Are you really under the impression that the atrocities that have been committed over the course of our war would permit anyone with a brain to give up the one thing keeping us in détente because someone asked nicely? I'm not stringing you along by not giving you everything you ask for on the off-chance that you're actually as competent as you say. If it really looks, after a week or a month or a semester, like you could actually dismantle the Empire from the inside, then I will give you the cube and I will personally mind-control as many Andalite politicians as I have to to keep my people from committing another atrocity. If you turn out to be an overconfident moron who would despite her best intentions give the Council of Thirteen a cube to make as many morph-capable agents as their sluggy little hearts desired, then I swear before the Elimist I will shove you in a locker and go on with my original plan to dismantle the Empire myself."
"Mrph fmph gnr hnnn," says Pel, because Bird is still holding her beak shut.
"No grumping," Bird reminds her. She gives the beak a little shake and then lets go.
Pel stands there for a few seconds, trying to come up with something to say and failing, and finally gives up and lets Tillin have a try.
"I apologize for Pel," Tillin says quietly. "We don't... have much practice with this kind of interaction. She's arguing with you the way she'd argue with me, and it's not working because there's too much missing context. Please try to be patient with us? I promise we won't try to steal morph from you except as a final resort after all other options are exhausted. Bird apparently turned into a human, and seems to have implied the transformation was permanent; we can look into replicating that."