Disclaimer: Animorphs belongs to K., etc., etc.

Author's Note: -( )- denotes thought speech. Italics denotes radio.


My name is Jake. And we are in some serious trouble right now.

The viewscreen was divided up into four sections, one for each of the other ships.

"Okay, the Yeerk fleet is five minutes away, and will be in range soon. They out-number us eight-to-one in cruisers alone, not to mention the hundreds of Bug Fighters and the two dozen Blade Ships that are escorting the cruisers," I said, laying out the facts, "Any suggestions?" I asked.

"We could always try surrendering," Marco suggested as a joke.

"No Marco. As always, surrender isn't an option," I replied wearily.

-(Prince Jake, may I suggest that we attempt to contact the ships that are approaching from behind the Yeerk fleet? They may just prove to be friendly)- Ax suggested.

"Well, we could. I suppose that there's only one way to find out if they're friendly or not," I said. I turned to face my communications officer and was about to request that he attempt to establish contact when his voice filled my head, -(Captain Jake, we are being hailed!)-

"Who by?" I asked. Yeerks have a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later. The same went for the Andalites.

-(I am not entirely sure, sir, but the origin of the signal is coming from behind the Yeerk fleet, so I would suggest that perhaps it is the unknown contacts)- he surmised.

"Okay, put it up on the screen," I ordered.

-(I cannot, sir, it is an audio transmission)- he replied. What the hell? I thought, Who uses audio transmissions?

"Okay then, play it through the speakers," I said, slightly confused.

-(Playing now)- he said. He made several commands via thought-speech and white noise blasted out of the speakers at a deafening level. Everyone on the bridge flinched as the noise pierced their eardrums.

"For the love of god, turn it down!" I shouted at my communications officer over the deafening noise.

-(Of course, sir)- he replied, and the noise stopped. It was replaced by a scratching noise, and then a noise of which the pitch alternated with what sounded like someone saying "wah-wah" over and over followed by a what sounded like someone playing a rock song. I looked at the screen and saw Marco bobbing his head in time with the music and had a slight smile on his face.

"I stand up next to a mountain, and I chop it down with edge of my hand," came a voice over the speakers.

-(Sir, I am somewhat confused, what is this?)- asked my First Officer.

I didn't reply. Instead, I looked over at Marco again with a questioning look on my face. He rolled his eyes and said "One word, Hendrix," and then it clicked. They were playing 'Voodoo Child' by Jimi Hendrix. Whoever they were.

"Well, I think it's safe to say that the unknown contacts are human," I said, smiling.

"Yeah, but who knows if they'll be friendly to us," Rachel said, and I privately agreed.

"Hey DJ, could ya play something with a little more… I dunno… oomph?" a gruff voice blared out of the speakers.

"Hang on," came a voice I guess that must belong to 'DJ', "How about some GNR, eh?"

"Sweet!" said a younger, more excited voice, "I'd say either 'Welcome to the Jungle', 'Mr. Brownstone' or 'Paradise City',"

"I was thinkin' more of 'Sweet Child O' Mine'" came a fourth voice.

"Sorry boss, but I kinda prefer 'Welcome to the Jungle' when I'm blasting Yeerks outta the sky," Said DJ, the second voice.

"Well then, put the song on, and lets start knocking some Yeerk bastards out of the sky," said the fourth voice with a hint of a laugh. "You might wanna make a playlist, because you aren't gonna have time to change tracks when we start shooting,"

"I guess, but seeing as I can't be bothered making a list, I guess I'll just hit the shuffle button," replied 'DJ' with a laugh. We all just stood there. The pilots weren't just humans, they were free humans. I looked at the others and saw that they all had impatient looks on their faces. I knew what that meant. It was time for me to act like the leader.

"Ax, would you prefer to talk to the pilots?" I asked him, as he was in charge of the task force.

-(No, Prince Jake. These are your people, and I believe that they might respond better if a human, as opposed to an Andalite, were to contact them)- he responded quickly. Great, he had just put all the responsibility onto my shoulders. Again. I turned to my Communications Officer, and asked him to establish an audio link with the humans.

"Hello, can anyone hear me?" I said.

"Who is this? Identify yourself!" came a new voice.

"This is Captain Jake Berenson of the Dome Ship Leader's Burden," I said cautiously.

"Look son, I don't know what you're trying to pull here, but the is no ship in the UNSF or in the Yeerk fleet with that name, nor is there a captain with that name on any United Nations Armed Forces register, or on any civilian census. So, please identify yourself properly before my team and I blow you to kingdom come!"

-(These humans are a very hostile group)- said one of my junior officers, -(Perhaps we should break contact with them, and attempt with another group?)-

"No, they're just being defensive. I get the feeling that they've been duped by the Yeerks with a similar trick in the past," Marco replied.

"Damn right! They killed over two hundred thousand civilians the last time we let that happen! So do you honestly think we're gonna trust someone with a fake name and a fake ship ID?" came the same voice. What stunned me, though, was the fact that he said that two hundred thousand people were killed when the let a Yeerk ship into their security.

"Ghost, with all due respect, SHUT THE FUCK UP before I court martial your ass back to basic!" yelled another voice, clearly belonging to someone of authority.

"Sorry sir, I'm just doing my job," replied 'Ghost'.

"Listen sergeant, we have a very good chance here to create an alliance, so just keep your mouth shut,"

"Yes sir, sorry sir,"

"Now then, Captain Berenson, what can I do for you?" asked the second voice

I was slightly taken aback at his politeness after what we had just heard. "Um… well I guess assistance would be helpful at this precise moment. We have a Yeerk fleet headed our way, and we only have five ships and no fighters," I said

"Dear god, Captain, you entered some of the most dangerous space in the Milky Way with only five ships and no defensive fighters? Shit, you guys are in trouble. Hang on, I'm receiving a ping… yes! Got your position… oh… your in direct line with the remnants of a Yeerk incursion fleet, that got hammered trying to drop troops off on Mars. Hang on, we can be in your sector in E.T.A forty-five seconds once we've got our co-ordinates locked in," said their leader.

"I can honestly say I was expecting to have to plead for help," I said, shocked by his readiness to help.

"Captain," he replied, more serious this time, "We have suffered greatly, and lost millions of innocent lives in the last three and a half years, we aren't gonna turn down a chance for help,"

"Oh, okay," I said. Lost millions of lives? That can't be good.

"We're coming up on your position any second now, look to your starboard side," he replied. I looked out the starboard side of the bridge, and saw a lot of objects rapidly appear out of nowhere, and zoom past the bridge. The fighters themselves were huge. They had to be at least a hundred feet long and maybe half-again as wide, and in a similar shape as a stealth bomber.

"Woah…" was all Marco has to say.

I turned to my T.O. and asked him to run an analysis of the fighters. Looking up from his screen he turned back to me.

-(The human craft is roughly thirty metres long, and forty-five metres wide, and six metres in depth. From my analysis, the ship has an armament of two forward-mounted rotating guns, two rotating guns attached to the undercarriage that seem to be able to swivel in a full three-hundred and sixty degree range. The fighter also appears to have some rockets, but they do seem somewhat superfluous as we stopped using rockets decades ago)- A hit of the standard Andalite snobbery was more than evident.

The humans flew straight at the Yeerk ships, and the Bug Fighters peeled off to meet the new threats. The cruisers, however, kept coming straight for us.

"Commander to all units, break off by squadrons and engage Buggers and Blade Ships only, leave the biggun's for Havoc Squadron. Everyone, attack pattern Delta," said the human commander, who was using the codename "Commander".

"Rules of Engagement?" asked one of the pilots.

"Search and Destroy, Delta One, Crew Expendable,"

"Okay, lets get to it Marines, the Corp ain't payin' us by the hour!" shouted the same pilot, who was called "Delta One".

"I got a Bug Fighter in my sights, five by five," said a female voice.

"Then by all means, take the first kill of the fight," said the Commander.

"Thanks sir!" replied the pilot, "She shoots… she scores!"

"Story of your life, eh Ratchet?" joked another pilot.

"Screw you, Gaz!"

"Any time, any place, baby,"

"Dream on. Gaz! Your left!"

"I see him… and I get second kill!"The pilots kept up a steady stream of banter as they flew around the Yeerk ships, destroying Bug Fighters left, right and center.

-(Those human ships do not stand a chance against that Blade Ship)- said my T.O. as three fighters flew in a triangle formation towards the closest Blade Ship. They simultaneously fired two missiles each and broke off, the left ship going left, the right-hand ship going right, and the middle ship pulling up into a steep climb and all of them spun wing-over-wing. They were clearly showing off. Their missiles hit home on the Blade Ship, on the shaft just in front of the engines. The Blade Ship burst into flames as the escaping oxygen met the vacuum of space, and the ship broke in two. I looked back over at my T.O. and couldn't help but laugh as the smirk in his eyes disappeared.

"Havoc One to Commander. Havoc Squadron is en-route from the Spirit of Fire. ETA two minutes," said a voice over the crackling radio.

"Understood Havoc One. Your help is greatly appreciated. We have a lot of Empire Class ship that need your 'special care'," said Commander, laughing.

"Oh, Commander, the GN'R album is finished. Would you like to suggest something?" said DJ

"Hmm… let me think. Umm, how about 'A Nightmare to Remember' by Dream Theater. That should get us through to the end of the fight," said Commander

"Okay, a sixteen minute long prog metal song about a car crash victim is our song of choice to finish this fight with. Putting it on now," replied DJ, sounding like a DJ at a nightclub. All this was happening as they manoeuvred around the capital ships that were attempting to shoot them down, and destroying Bug Fighters and Blade Ships. Then, ten larger ships appeared, and flew straight into the fight. They were huge! At least four times bigger than the fighters, and looked like they could easily go toe-to-toe with a Pool Ship and win.

"Ah… Havoc One, how nice of you to join us," said Commander

"It's a pleasure as always, Commander," replied Havoc One, laughing. "Havoc Two and Three, you're with me. Havoc Four, Five and Six, you have Pool Ship One. The rest of you, of have Pool Ship Two," a chorus of affirmatives followed.

"Interrogative, what's our target Havoc One?" asked either Havoc Two or Three.

"Havoc Three, our target is that great big mutha of a Nova-Class Empire ship that's headed towards that small, friendly fleet over there. Answer your question?"

"Yes, sir" Hang on, what Nova-Class Empire Ship? I looked out of the observation windows to the side of the viewscreen and saw the aforementioned ship approaching the task force, along with several others of the same kind, and several Despoiler-Class Empire Ships.

"Oh shit…" I swore under my breath, "Alert! We have incoming ships, they're on us!"

-(All hands to stations!)- Shouted my T.O. There was a rush of movement and sound as the crew scrambled to their stations and the weapons powered up.

"What's the status on the shields of those Despoilers?" I asked hurriedly.

-(All but one has their shields up, sir)- Answered one of the gunners.

"Ax…" I said expectantly.

-(All ships, concentrate all firepower on the Despoiler with its shields down)- he ordered. The crews gave their affirmatives, and prepared to fire. -(Fire!)- Ax shouted. I watched as the Shredders lanced out towards the ship and it disintegrated as the shots hit home.

"Not bad, not bad at all," said Havoc One over the radio. "Now let me show you how the professionals do it," I stood and watched as the massive fighters that made up Havoc Squadron manoeuvred their way through the mass of ships with surprising amount of ease.

"Destroy Pool Ships One and Two," he said. The seven fighters flew over their targets and the next second, the Pool Ships were covered with explosions as the bombs ripped through the hull and vented atmosphere to burn. The Pool Ships slowly broke apart and vented the last of their atmosphere and all the Yeerks and crew into the cold vacuum. "Havoc. Move onto the immediate threats. Highlighting targets now, engage when in give the order,"

I watched the fighters move to intercept the cruisers that were about to attack us. Our ships let out another volley and caused some damage on the Nova ships that were advancing towards us. The remaining Nova ships turned to broadside us and let loose a volley of their own.

"Evasive manoeuvres! Now!" I shouted. The ship moved quickly, and the deadly beams shot past. All of a sudden, what looked like escape pods launched from one of the Despoilers, and headed straight for Rachel's ship. "What the hell are they doing?" I asked.

-(I have no idea, Prince Jake. I have never seen anything like it before)- Ax replied. That really scared me. Either the Yeerks were escaping from their ship and the launch vector happened to be in the same direction as Rachel's ship, or it was some new Yeerk tactic that they had learnt fighting humans. But before I could ponder any more on the Yeerks' strange behaviour, the Nova ships were lit up like a Christmas tree, and they started disintegrated.

"You gotta hand it to those boys," Marco said, "They know how to blow shit up!"

-(Yes, I agree with Marco)- Ax said. -(They exhibit an excellence with high-ordnance explosives that put most of the Andalite weapons specialists to shame)-

"Does mine ears deceive me, or was that humility?" Marco asked, a laugh evident in his voice.

-(Take it how you will, Marco. I as simply expressing that those pilots are very talented when it comes to, as you put it, "blowing shit up")- Ax replied, somewhat avoiding the point. All this was interrupted by a frantic message from Rachel.

"Jake! My ship's been boarded! We've got Taxxons, massive Hork-Bajir, and several species I've never seen before running rampant throughout the ship. We've already cut off all access to the bridge, but we don't know how they managed to do so much damage so quickly, or…" Rachel broke off quickly as she turned around and there was an explosion in the background. "Oh shit…"

All I could was stare as Rachel and her crew were taken hostage, and the communication was cut. So that's what the Yeerks were doing. I looked out the observation window again, and saw that Rachel's ship was turning around, and accelerating away.

The radio crackled to life again. "Captain, I am so sorry that I couldn't stop the boarders in time. We got their craft, but not the Yeerks themselves. I warned the crew, though. I hope they put up a good fight. It's been a long time since they boarded a ship. I'm so sorry," Commander apologised, before turning his attention to something else. "Time to end this fight. Commander to Spirit of Fire,"

"This is the Spirit of Fire, go ahead Commander," replied a female voice.

"We need support, and we need it ASAP. Understood?"

"Yes, sir. The Spirit of Fire is en route,"


A/N: I apologize for the almost two month wait for what I promised I would have up after a week. Anyway, thanks to everyone who reviewed, I'm surprised by just how many people were actually waiting for me to update. This time, I'll say that I don't have a date for the next chapter, but I will try to write a couple hundred words whenever I get some spare time. Hopefully I'll have the next chapter up in under three weeks.