I wanted to thank fangirlishness.101, Skyflight Erek's Loyalty, freak show, atlastme, oOKayleeOo, Crowded Mind, and The Shang Kudarung for reviewing. Thanks!
And, sorry, but this chapter is a bit shorter than all the others.
Chapter #8: Breaking the Law
I closed the door to my room softly and turned to look at the two others that had followed me in. Rachel had taken a seat on the bed, an angry look on her face, while Aximili stood uncertainly to the side as if he wasn't quite sure he was welcome. I sighed and headed for the desk chair that went with the desk that Elfangor had gotten me about halfway through my stay here.
"If you do not, do – dooo, not mind I would like, luh – ayke, to return, re –retur – ur – nuh - nuh, to my regular – ar form –orum, form."
Not used to Aximili's habit of playing with words, Rachel blinked and stared at the alien.
I just nodded. "Yeah, sure. Whatever." But then I said to Rachel, "You may want to turn away."
She did and I did and after a few long moments I asked, "You done yet?"
(Yes. I am finished.)
Rachel and I turned back around to find Aximili in his regular Andalite form.
"That is so cool," Rachel breathed, before looking up into Aximili's main eyes, "And you can turn into anything you want?"
Aximili hesitated before answering. (As long as we have acquired the DNA then we can morph into any other form, yes. But the other form must be a living, breathing, being.)
"And you can do this too?" Rachel asked, turning to me now.
A little embarrassed by her attention, I shrugged uncomfortably and hurried to explain. "Well I haven't exactly acquired anything yet, but I can do it if I want."
"That is so cool," Rachel said again, looking impressed. "I wanna do that."
I shot a glance at her. "You'd have to fight." Somehow I doubted she'd like the foster care option any more than I had.
Rachel obviously didn't care. "So? It's my planet too. I wanna help."
That was almost exactly what I had said and I smiled slightly at the idea that we were on the same page.
"I have to say though," Rachel continued, looking at me, "I didn't expect fighting a war to be something you would choose to do. No offense."
I shrugged, uncomfortable again under her seeming growing respect for me. "Well it was either fight or change my looks completely and go into foster care. And I may not have liked my uncle, but I hear foster care can be even worse."
Rachel nodded in understanding, but looked at me as if she knew there was more to it than that.
Somewhat embarrassed, I ducked my head and admitted, "And, like you said, it's my planet too. It's only right that I help fight for it, you know?"
Rachel smiled then, looking proud of me, and I blushed.
(It is good that you are so willing to fight for your people)
I kind of jumped and looked over at Aximili. It was embarrassing, but I'd kind of forgotten he was there. I cleared my throat uncomfortably and tried not to blush. "Ye - yeah?"
Aximili nodded, smiling with his eyes in that strange way Andalites have. (Yes. I know of many species that would not do as you are doing. They would think of only themselves and run.)
"That's the coward's way out," Rachel said passionately and I turned to blink at her. I hadn't known she felt that strongly about bravery and cowardice. Those qualities weren't exactly something a regular high school student spent much time pondering.
(Yes. Cowardly and dishonorable,) Aximili agreed and I blinked at him too. Running away was exactly what Elfangor had done and Aximili was always going on about how brave and honorable Elfangor was.
"Elfangor ran," I reminded him just in case he'd forgotten.
Aximili frowned with his eyes. (That was different.)
(My brother came back,) Aximili said simply. (He ran away, but he also faced his fears and returned to become a great hero.)
I nodded, accepting that, and we were silent for a moment. In the next room we could hear nothing from the older Andalites, which meant they had all demorphed and were probably directing their thought-voices only to each other. We had no idea how things were going in there. I glanced at Rachel to see her watching the door with a frown, obviously wondering how the discussion was going as well. I frowned and turned to Aximili again.
"Will this happen a lot?" I asked as I nodded at the door, indicating the adult Andalites in the next room and their discussion. "Will we always be pushed to the side and expected to just go along with whatever they decide?"
Here Rachel turned back to the conversation, also interested in the answer.
Aximili frowned again. (They are the superior officers. Why would we be allowed to influence their decisions?)
I copied him and frowned again. "I thought you said they promoted you to Warrior when you all got stranded here."
(Yes, but they are still much more experienced than me. They know things that I do not,) Aximili said.
"So we'll just be expected to sit to the side and let them make the decisions for us?" Rachel asked with a frown, obviously not liking this idea. "No way!"
I nodded. I didn't really like the idea much either.
Aximili seemed confused. (What other way could there be?)
"Well, I dunno," Rachel began sarcastically, "maybe we could try and listen to each other and make a decision unanimously?"
Aximili still seemed confused, looking at Rachel as if she was talking crazy. (I'm afraid I do not understand.)
I sighed and waved the topic off, not wanting Rachel to get any angrier or Aximili more confused. "Never mind. Forget we said anything. I'm sure we can talk to Elfangor and see about letting us join the next big discussion."
Rachel frowned, but seemed satisfied with that and nodded. Aximili just looked glad that Rachel and I weren't going to pursue the topic anymore.
And, after that, for a long moment no one spoke until Rachel finally looked at me and said, "Okay, this is boring. Don't you have anything fun to do in here?"
I blinked and tried to think of things we could do. "I have some cards, I think," I answered slowly. "We could play with those."
Aximili visibly brightened. (Yes. You could show me this thing you humans call poker. I hear it is quite tricky.)
Rachel seemed fine with that idea too. "Okay. Then where are they?" she asked. "Let's get them out."
"They're," I suddenly remembered where they were and winced, "They're out in the living room on the coffee table."
There was a pause.
"Well then somebody has to go get them," Rachel said, but made no move to get up from her seat.
Neither Aximili nor I moved either, not wanting to bring Elfangor's wrath down upon us for interrupting the adult's big discussion. "I have some computer games we could play," I offered instead. "We'd have to take turns though."
Rachel frowned again. "What kind of games?"
"Tons," I answered and waved a hand in the direction of my desk shelf full of computer games then shrugged at her look. "I had to do something for that month I couldn't go outside." Elfangor had even bought me the laptop to play them on which was sitting right in front of me on my desk. It was a good computer and I still remember the feeling of shock and awe as he opened that box. My uncle had never done anything like that for me and Elfangor was even paying for all my new clothing and shoes at the same time. He may be absent and unreachable as a father, but he did know how to provide.
"Do you have Tomb Raider?" Rachel asked, narrowing her eyes at me. "The new one?"
"Um . . ." I turned in my desk chair to look up at my many games, searching for Tomb Raider. "Yeah," I finally said and reached up to pluck it out of the line-up. Moving the mouse to get rid of the screensaver on my computer and putting the CD-ROM to the side, I got out of my chair and gestured for Rachel to sit.
Rachel got up from her seat on my bed and sat in the chair, already taking out the CD-ROM from the case and getting the game ready to go. Openly curious, Aximili, moved to stand over her shoulder and watch her play while I plopped my self down on my bed then fell back to stare at the ceiling. I was starting to wonder what would happen to Rachel now that she knew. She obviously would have to stay at Elfangor's house with us, but did that mean I would have to give up my room? And people were probably going to search much harder for Rachel than they had searched for me, plus Rachel would probably miss her family. What were we going to do about that?
I sighed and decided to leave those questions to the adults in the next room and contented myself with my dreams of acquiring something with wings and flying through the sky. I'd always wanted to fly.
Aximili and Rachel weren't exactly quiet as Rachel played the game and I listened to them fight for a long time as we waited for the adult's to finish.
(No. No. You must go left. Left. Over there.)
"Yeah. Yeah. I see it. I see it. Shut up."
(Your life energy is extremely low. Shouldn't you be more worried about your character's immanent death than with fighting these worthless battles?)
"Hey, let me decide what to be worried about. These guys need to go down."
(Over there. Over there. See right there?)
"Will you stop trying to play the game for me and shut up?"
(I am merely trying to help.)
"Yeah, well, stop trying."
(I fear you may lose this battle.)
"Oh no. No big bad boss-man is gonna take me down. I'm gonna win."
(You will die. I am certain of it.)
Some of it was actually rather amusing to listen to and I smiled even as I kind of dozed off.
Finally though, the adults seemed to finish their big discussion and they called us all back into the living room. Rachel saved and turned off the game and followed Aximili and me out of the room to sit by me on the couch, looking serious and determined. I was actually kind of afraid of what would happen if the adults had decided to not give Rachel the power to morph. Thankfully that wasn't the case.
(After a long discussion,) Elfangor began formally, (We have come to the conclusion that it is only practical if we were to give you the power to morph.)
"Really?" Rachel asked, her face brightening up with a huge smile.
Elfangor smiled slightly and nodded his head. (Really)
"Yes!" Her glee obviously too much to contain, Rachel spontaneously hugged me, not seeming to realize she'd even done it as she let me go and immediately went on to ask. "Then how do we do this? Do I have to touch something or what?"
Still reeling from the hug, my face had to be bright red.
Elfangor nodded his head at Maril who quickly left the room to return with the blue box in hand.
(You simply touch this and the technology will be yours,) Elfangor said, taking the blue box from Maril and holding it out to Rachel.
Rachel looked suspicious, eyeing the blue box skeptically. "Really? That's it?"
"Well, okay . . ." Reaching out, Rachel put a hand on the blue box and I waited for the moment that she would be shocked by the electrical current. It took a second, but then she was jerking her hand away with a "Hey!" Giving Elfangor a dirty look, she asked, "What the hell was that?"
(That was the Escafil Device changing your DNA to allow you the power to morph," Elfangor answered honestly.
"Really?" Rachel asked, looking down at her hand skeptically. "So I can morph into anything I want now just because that thing shocked me?"
Rachel smiled and wiggled her fingers. "Cool."
I smiled at that, amused but somewhat sad by the knowledge that now Rachel could never leave. "And I guess I should welcome you to the group. It's a lonely and dead boring life, but you get used it eventually." I shrugged.
Erithin snorted in derision, but I had learned to ignore him.
Rachel just turned her smile at me, her excitement not dimmed in the least. "Tobias, I can morph. I'm gonna be fighting aliens for the freedom of my planet. How am I ever gonna be bored?"
I noticed she didn't say anything about the lonely part and I decided I wasn't going to make any remarks on the excitement of fighting aliens. I'd seen the Andalites after battle enough to know that the fight was not going to be pretty, but I didn't want to dull Rachel's excitement at the moment. I'd leave it up to her to realize that war wasn't pretty or exciting.