Nov 25, 2017 12:55 AM
are we out of the woods yet
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andalite Elves land in Amenta
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The fight goes badly and they could aim for a disastrous crash landing on the human planet or they could grab the one utterly random jump the computers currently think is stable and then crash-land on the other end of that. 

One of these options involves near-certain death and the end of the covert war on a planet of five billion. 

They take the other one.

 

This place is inhabited too, densely so; the air is breathable, which is such a coincidence that as they hurtle planetward some people are muttering about the Ellimist in a speculative rather than prayerful way.

 

They morph bugs for the impact. They crash in the rainforest.

The ground around them smoulders.

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People who could pass for human except for the hair (mostly assorted shades of red) peer at the ship from beyond the smoldering part.

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For a few minutes while they wait for a damage report from the computer systems (the ongoing absence of such a damage report is itself a damage report, though not the most useful one) nothing happens.

 

Then out of what looked like nothing a bug grows, bulbous and misshappen and monstrous, and then sprouts fur and tentacle eyes, and then bone spurs which the fur grows over. Muscles ripple beneath the surface and then there is - a gazelle-like thing with a human torso and a tail with a sharp blade at the end. The eyes swivel. They settle on the near-humans.

 

Without the computers he doesn't have any translation software. He raises his arms in what is - among species with arms - a peaceful gesture more than eighty percent of the time.

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A humanoid raises her arms back.

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More aliens emerge out of apparently-nothing! Some of them grow full-sized in bug shape and then pinch and twist into blue centaur things; some of them are already mostly centaur-shaped by the time they get visible; some do limbs last. All the transformations are kind of grotesque.

 

Aliens scurry off to their hopelessly destroyed computers. 

 

He observes the smouldering, nods at the assembled humanoids. <Hello. I hope our not-quite-choice of landing sites has done no harm. I do not yet have enough language data to understand you.>

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...humanoids start talking to each other, either helpfully or because this statement produces a flurry of things to say.

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And eventually the computer catches one word in ten and then one word in five and then half of them and then it's adequate - what are they saying -

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"- somebody will take it. We don't have any firepower."

"They might let us tiebreak."

"Only if nobody we have an opinion about is meaningfully in the running, imagine if it's Anitam versus fucking Orvara, or even just Tapa versus Cene -"

"If we really don't want anyone to take it we could go pull some people out of the decontamination center, have them go poke everything."

"If the aliens let us, who knows what they want to do or why they're here. Besides, I think for an alien spaceship they'd figure out how to wash it."

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<I have enough language data to understand you now. I am War-Prince Matirin-Ashal-Nelinfir and it is a pleasure to meet you, though the circumstances are regrettable.>

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"...is there a war?" asks a humanoid. "Or is the title just decorative -"

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<There is a war to which your species is not a party, and I have no reason to expect you will become one.>

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"Oh good."

"Uh, welcome to Amenta."

"Why are you here -"

Whispering: "Should we stop talking to them until somebody qualified shows up -"

"Oh yes our many qualified diplomats and xeno-whatevers -"

"We're not even from the government though!"

"If it wants the government it'll say it wants the government with its brain talking thing!"

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<We suffered incapacitating damage in battle and jumped to the only candidate for a habitable landing environment. If anyone will permit us to make noninvasive physical contact with you we can acquire genetic and morphological information and take forms that resemble your own.>

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For some reason some of the humanoids think this is really funny and most of them offer their hands.

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Oh good. <The sample collection process is harmless but can make you drowsy.>

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"For how long?"

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<A few minutes.>

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Most hands stay extended.

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He touches hands and acquires people and then goes for a nice neutral blend.

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Tail retracts (he feels terribly vulnerable, but the locals seem friendly and his people are not far away) and eyeballs squish and then his spine does something appalling and he only has two legs. He falls facefirst. He gets up again, a bit unsteadily, and by then the fur is all gone.

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"...do you need help?" one asks.

"I have a walking stick -" says another.

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<I should have relevant instincts.> Step step. <Yes, there. Your body plan is very unstable.>

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"...it gets the job done."

"Does it hurt when you do that?"

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<Morphing is painless.>

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"Wow."

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<Is Amenta the name of your planet or your internal political division thereof?>

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