Author: Ember Nickel PM
Responses to various Animorphs challenges. Most recent update: The Deviser: 'Change one thing. Change everything'. Before that, Moron, response to Defiled Heart Challenge: a secret file on Edriss's computer.Rated: Fiction K - English - Chapters: 3 - Words: 2,596 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 09-09-06 - Published: 08-10-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3097620
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: Written in response to the original/alternate fandom challenge for September 2006 on FictionNet (sycotic DOT org SLASH fnet). The tagline/prompt I used was "Change one thing. Change everything".
My name is Escafil.
A good name, I am sure. My grandfather's name before me. He had been Prince Escafil, destroyer of those pesky Norshk. But I am the reason it will be remembered. Me, the vecol.
I was, of course, excluded from the military in my own day. I would be useless fighting the Yeerk menace. Instead, I was consigned to a scientific outpost. And the only reason I even got that was because of my "connections". Forced to spend days in the drudgery of physics.
If I was not accepted there, I was not ridiculed, either. My classmates would never have been driftball champions. Separated from the warrior jocks, we were able to become bolder: stalk eyes or none. In fact, I was even respected for my intelligence, something I barely knew I possessed.
I had honed the ability to be precise with my hands, making delicate etches in silicon more precisely than my peers could. After all, with only two eyes, mistakes would come faster. But I'd overcompensated, much to my pleasure. It was that, combined with directing thoughtspeak at the computer, that helped me produce the first curiosity. A miniscule red sphere, not much bigger than the tiny hoobers producing white noise that lulled us to sleep. This was all during my free time: I would be commissioned to work on various projects, but we all had the use of the laboratories for certain intervals.
As I touched the object, it seemed to change color and become the tan-blue of my skin and fur. It was difficult to see, so I waited until the next shift came in. Before they could evict me, I approached one of them: the cocky Yaweiros. ((What does this look like to you?))
((Can't see, can you, two-eye vecol?))
((Yaweiros!)) interrupted his shorm, Thavrand. (This was one of the few opportunities for male and female Andalites to collaborate, so there were enough intergender shorms for them not to be teased about being mates.) It was not yet her turn to experiment, so he waited outside.
He roughly seized it from me. As he did, the ball turned to his shade. ((It looks like a stupid ball.)) Tossing it away, he went to his workstation.
It rolled to the door just as it was electronically closing. Thavrand seized it and reopened the door for me. I clambered through before I could be embarrassed any more. ((Could I look at this?))
As she picked it up, it tinted to her own purple. ((Wow! How'd you make this?))
((I really don't know. I just started experimenting, and, it came.))
((Cool. What station were you at?))
((All right: could I try and, y'know, keep going with it?))
((Sure, whatever.)) At that point all I wanted to do was sleep.
Mercifully, I was able to retreat to my quarters. My surreal dream featured a kafit bird soaring above the homeworld. Then it took a shredder (how it was able to carry one, I had no idea) and shot at a Blade ship-a Blade ship? In our atmosphere? Of course not! The Yeerks would never be able to infiltrate here.
That told me it was a dream, and I woke up. I tried to calculate the time, using my innate gift (although it was prevalent among Andalites), but for some reason I was slower than usual. I hustled to the class that I guessed I was supposed to be attending, only to find it was already in session.
((How nice of you to join us, Escafil,)) my teacher said drolly.
((Vecol,)) Yawerios hissed privately.
Shamefully, I retreated to my station. Of course, it was no retreat, as it was in the front of the room. Everyone watched as I booted up my files and proceeded with the lesson. Midway through, I was interrupted by a far-off thoughtspeak voice. ((Hey Escafil? Can you hear me?))
((Thavrand! I'm in class right now.))
((Oh, uh, okay. I have something you might want to look at.))
When we were released, I took advantage of a short break (when I should have been catching up on my assignments) to go to the laboratory. I didn't see her anywhere in the vicinity. ((Thavrand? Are you here?))
((Yeah. You see the red ball?))
It was lying on the floor-not the same one that I had made: that was still Thavrand's purple. ((You recreated it?))
((I am the ball.))
((I was at the computer, and I'd made a facsimile of the thing you did. But all of a sudden I was concentrating on it, and then, I became it.))
((So, concentrate on not being it.))
((Well, I assume you don't want to be one?))
((Of course not!))
What I saw then was the weirdest thing I'd seen to date. The ball began to flash and disappear, almost as if it was sliding through another dimension. And Thavrand's face began to flicker in on the computer screen. ((Hi-Escafil?))
((Yeah! What was that?))
((I have no idea.)) But she gave me a sequence of commands to input, which resulted in her materializing, in Andalite form, in front of me.
((I should keep working on this.))
((Yeah, if you can. Don't come late again.)) She meant it teasingly, but it stung. I was losing my inner timesense as I devoted myself to the project.
And losing perhaps more, too. As days turned into months, I fell behind drastically. At one point I even tried to access Yaweiros's work to copy, but I couldn't pass for him. As the alarm went off, I fled back to the computer terminal. I was desperately alone, linked to reality only by the messages infrequently left at the project. Thavrand tried to help, tinkering with various designs, but she had to keep her sanity. Her place in the world.
Some times she'd recruit other young scientists to come in and try to help me. I heeded their ideas vaguely, but was hardly consciously aware. Surely, I incorporated various suggestions, but the task I was striving on was mine alone.
Not that I even knew what it was. But as I'd seen Thavrand metamorphose, I'd realized there was potential here. Potential to exploit something. Dimensions of possibilities.
It was the last day that I cracked it. My flippancy towards scheduling had caught up with me: I had flunked out. As I waited for my parents to pick me up and bring me home, I created a final version of the strange program: this time self-contained within a blue box. But as I touched it, I was electrocuted and fell, unconscious, to the floor.
Yawerios found my body. I was treated unsuccessfully in the academy, shuttled into space and Z-space, but unproductively. Finally, Thavrand retrieved the box and brought it to me (disregarding a large number of security protocols along the way).
As the box in her hand touched my torso, I snapped awake as she was jolted with a mild shock. ((Where am I? Am I home?))
She gave me a terse recap of what had happened. Since no one was able to explain my recovery, I was released soon after.
The drive home in the transport was humiliating. I couldn't face my parents, after the dishonor of my expulsion. Instead, I puzzled over the mystery of the box. And came up with nothing explicable.
When we returned to our home scoop, I waited to be chastised, but wasn't. Uncomfortable staying with my parents, I climbed the hill that bordered the scoop and noticed a flying kafit. Instinctively, I knew it was the one from my dream.
I ran after it, not knowing where I was going, until it dove into a river. I paused, catching my breath, and reached out to stroke its wing. Instead of taking off in fear of me, it stayed tranquilly. Afraid it would drown, I pulled it out. As soon as I released contact, it left, alive and thriving.
I had feared for it, of course, and somehow was still concentrating on it. On its beauty in flight. Its reflection in the river…and my own…that was mirroring me in change.