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Chilled Unit
23rd Nov 2002, 14:29
I followed Dell's thread on this and found all the original background and synopses. It;s about time this got finished I think, so read on and get inspired :)

----------------
Story Background - Dell
Sometime in the future, Earthmen have expanded outward beyond their own solar
system, building a vast federation of independent and semi-independent
planetary colonies of carefully selected self-sufficient pioneers. In the
process, many different species of humanoid creatures were encountered, but
only a few of them were space-faring species that came anywhere near Earth's
technological and scientific level of advancement.

Those few space-faring species joined with the Earth Federation in observing
an uneasy non-aggressive, non-interfering, hands-off policy in dealing with
each other. After all, the galaxy is a big place, isn't it? Arguing over a
few planets in an otherwise obscure solar system isn't worth it, is it? Or is
it?

Due to different environmental influences, the human colonists have changed
over time, mutating and adapting to fit the survival requirements of each new
planetary home. On some planets, the differences from earth-norm form and
function are minimal. On others, they are much greater, some taking place
through natural selection and divergence, others through mutation caused by
radiation levels, and still others from deliberate genetic manipulation.

While less than admirable, cloning has produced a whole sub-class of genetic
humans without identity other than that designated by the government who
produced them and reared them in creches designed for that purpose. Although
they can become most anything they choose, and accomplish anything they are
capable of, factually they are quietly discriminated against on every level,
particularly socially. With none-too-subtle pressure, the government prods
them toward space, either as colonists, or as part of the exploration effort.
Those that resist these efforts are shunted into the population at large in
relatively menial positions.

Not all the evolutionary changes in humans are physical. Telepathy and other
forms of psionic abilities and skills have evolved, assuming a position of
great importance, playing a major role in day to day life throughout the
human federation sphere of influence. Because of the need for rigorous
training in developing, disciplining, and controlling these mental abilities
from an early age, a complex Guild system has developed as a part of the
educational and political systems. (For further, in-depth explanation, see
"Guilds", by Jenova).

As outward expansion and colonization continued, it was found efficient and
economical to form small, specialized groups to spearhead this flow of humans
out into the unknown. There are three of these special groups under the
control of the Space Exploration and Surveying section of the Federation
Space Naval Command. Within these groups are numerous teams made up of six
individuals each. Rigorously screened, and highly Guild-trained in various
arcane and mundane skills, these six team members, each possessing a variety
of skills and abilities, are selected to complement each other on the
particular mission involved. Telepathic communication is standard procedure
among them.

Planetary Exploration Team Ones, known as PET One's, are sent out to each new
planet located and surveyed to do basically what the name implies...explore
the planet, check its flora and fauna, and determine it's suitability for
colonization.

Planetary Evaluation Team Twos, known as PET Two's, are sent out to
investigate, evaluate, and rectify problems, whatever their nature, on
already colonized planets.

Planetary Extermination Team Threes, known as PET Three's, are little known
other than by rumor, and not discussed by anyone. Composed of individuals
chosen from and active with the other PET Teams, they are anonymous, and
their reporting structure is unknown. Their identities and records of their
activities are closely secured, and it is simply better for all to pretend
ignorance of their existence. Their mission, when called upon to perform it
for the safety and security of humankind, is Planetary Extermination...simply
sterilize the planet of all life forms, including any humans currently on
that planet.

* * * *
Isis 17 has been colonized for over twenty years, and up until now, there
have been no problems. However, recently, there have been a series of
unexplained deaths and disappearances among the colonists. This is an
alarming situation when, up until now, all of the indigenous native
populations have been harmless, and, with a few exceptions, have simply
avoided humans rather than interacting with or attacking them. The Colonial
Government has sent to the Federation for help, and a PET Two team has been
dispatched.

The team members are 'Ax', Captain, team leader, 'Jannaleen', Psychologist,
'Pedro', Armorer, 'Corenna', Pilot/Navigator, Generalist, 'Roe'. Science
Officer, and 'Jack', Medic, clone.

Our story begins when the PET Two team crashes while attempting to land on
Isis 17, a small earth-like planet circling an unusual twin sun configuration
in the relatively small, and insignificant Pegasus system.



----------------------------
The Story Thus Far...


Chapter One
by Jenova

The crash of the shuttle has ignited a huge forest fire. Ax, the PET Two Team Leader is running for his life. He does not know if anyone else survived the crash, and he questions why he ever chose this line of work in the first place. As he pauses a moment to rest in his race to get away from the fire, arrows are shot at him by a creature who yells gibberish at him and prepares to launch another arrow. Using his Guild trained talent, he summons a water spell, and when the deluge of water clears, the creature is gone. He knows he has little time.


Chapter Two
by vakusuma

As he runs, Ax is deeply disturbed by the actions of the Kouldeen, as the colonists called them. Though considered to be not very intelligent, they were rumored to have psionic abilities. Usually remaining in the forests and avoiding contact, about a year before some of them had become aggressive and colonists had been killed by them. Finding out why this was happening was part of the reason the PET Two Team had been sent here. As he continues to run from the fire, he is again attacked by Kouldeens shooting arrows at him. Unable to stop long enough to use a Guild protection, he can only use his superior physical condition and training to dodge and run. Finally outdistancing them, he discovers that the fire has surrounded him and he is trapped.


Chapter Three
by Dell

Ax calms himself and reaches deep within himself to create a water spell. As he does so, he hears a very faint whisper of telepathic thought reaching out to him. It is fellow team member, Jannaleen, who is also his sister. He sends a hurried reply, but must immediately escape the flames. Using the water spell, he creates an opening though which he escapes the fire. He tries again to reach Jannaleen but can hear nothing. He must get farther away from the fire, so he moves on. Darkness falls, and he is exhausted when he thinks he sees figures ahead of him in the forest. He thinks he hears them whispering, and his mind wanders to birch trees on Old Earth.


Chapter Four
by Nightstalker

Everything goes black, and when Ax is next conscious, it is still pitch black, but he knows he is lying on a bed with a cover over him. He speaks out loud of finding Jannaleen, then sees a light through his closed lids, and hears voices talking about him. He falls into a deep sleep, and has nightmares. When he wakes, he realizes he is in a simple but decent room. His clothes are gone, and he is dressed in a simple long, white garment. He is afraid to telepathically seek out Jannaleen or try to contact any other team members because he does not know who might "hear" him. He then meets the beautiful, blond Sarah, who brings him his clothes, now clean, food, and prepares a bath for him. She appears to be just as human as he is.


Chapter Five
by Nightstalker

Sarah goes downstairs. She is thinking about Ax so intently, she cuts her finger. When Ax finishes his breakfast and bath, he comes downstairs into the kitchen. He is dressed in his own clean clothes, and he thanks her for everything. They talk, and he finds out he is in the Village Mira on the edge of the great Verule Forest. The villagers have found no other team members so far. He also discovers that Sarah is the local Healer for Mira. When she asks where he is from, he lies to her and says he does not remember. Sarah has to leave to tend a patient, and Ax is alone in the house.


Chapter Six by Dell

Jannaleen wakes curled up by the roots of a tree where she collapsed the previous night after running from the fire. Thrown from the shuttle before the crash, she landed in bushy trees and is not too badly injured. She remembers sending out a weak telepathic call before falling into a deep sleep the night before, but she cannot remember receiving an answer. After tending to the cut on her head as best she can, she decides to try again to reach any PET Two Team members who also survived the crash. Then, she stops, thinking instead of what she saw just before the shuttle crashed. Her mind fixed on Milton Freet who appeared to be sent by the colonial government as liaison between themselves and the Pet Two Team. Annoying in the extreme, he alienates and irritates every team member with his obnoxious ways. It was Freet, Jannaleen saw now. In the frantic moments just before the crash, she witnessed him in the act of changing shapes. He is not human, but a shape-changer, a mutant of the Kohine species, one of the space-faring races with whom Earth Federation maintain an uneasy hands-off relationship (although she didn't know this at this point). And he had been masquerading as a human! Jannaleen is very frightened.


Chapter Seven
by vakusuma

In his normal semi-liquid form, the shape-changer easily survived the crash, only slightly disorganized. He does not like this place. It is too cold for him. As he makes his way toward the secret Kohine base, he does so in his natural state, slithering along as is the way of Kohines, both unmutated solid ones, and those semi-liquid mutations like himself. He is totally disgusted by having to assume the human shape of Milton Freet. But those were his orders and he is trained to unquestioningly obey the orders of his recruiters on the Kohine Protectorate Council. Caused by excessively high Lambda radiation striking the home planet, these mutants are greatly feared by normal Kohines and are supposedly locked away. The nomals do not know what useful tools they are for Protectorate members who use them as spies, killing machines, and covert assassins. As he moves along toward the hidden base, he meets a native and kills him savagely and sadistically, experiencing a dark and unholy joy in the act. No one knows the pleasure, the joy he experiences in killing. He thinks that this satisfaction makes being what he is worthwhile.


Chapter Eight
by Amazeroth

In Mira Village, alone in the house, Ax wanders upstairs. While lying on the bed wondering what to do, he smells smoke and sees a strange kind of violet fire in the center of town. Children are laughing and dancing around it. Curious, he leaves the house and goes into the square, and sees that now the fire has turned green. He notices that everyone is looking at him strangely. Ax sees Sarah talking to an older woman who seems to be chiding her. The woman sees him, glares at him, and Sarah hurries to take him back to the house. The fire has now turned a sunshine yellow, but when he tries to ask about it, Sarah hurries him into the house. The old woman is Serene, the Head Woman of Mira Village, Sarah tells him, and clearly she is the reason Sarah
rushed him back inside. Sarah tells him the crash site is only two miles a way, and that he should now go upstairs and rest. He does, and at nightfall receives full contact from Jannaleen. Relieved that she is all right, he tells her where to come, and that he will wait for her at the edge of the village. Using an enhancing spell that greatly improves all of his senses, especially sight and hearing, he leaves the house. As he waits just outside of town in the forest, Serene does not see him as she passes him and hurries deeper into the forest. Ax follows her through a hidden door that opens in a large tree, and sees her standing before a pillar of green light. Without warning, the light becomes blinding to his enhanced vision, and, nearly unconscious from shock, he hears bits and pieces of conversation, and fears that he may be close to death because of his curiosity.


Chapter Nine
by Amazeroth

After the shuttle crash, Jack Hunt, Pet Team Two medic, has climbed to a plateau high above the forest floor. In a foul mood, he is not impressed by what he can see: forests below and the rocks of this plateau. A clone from the birthing tanks on Phoenix 3, he hides a terrible hot hatred of being a clone instead of a natural born human. Although highly trained and physically skilled, he escaped his ordained fate of being assigned to a lifetime of servitude by the clone utilization facility before finishing his psionic
training, and his greatest skill is the ability to teleport himself. This is limited by the fact he can only do so to places he has seen, or risk arriving hundreds of feet in the air or buried in the earth. Posing as a shy and unassuming medic, he is actually an assassin engaged by the mutant shape-changer he knows as Milton Freet. Freet has promised him two years advanced training in return for three assassinations, and when completed, this will be the third one. What is it? To assassinate the entire Pet Team
Two. So far, he is aware that Ax and Jannaleen have survived the crash. He checks his weapons, a sniper rifle which is concealed in the medical kit he carries, and a set of throwing knives on his shoulder belt. He also carries a device to signal Freet when the mission is completed. He looks down on the forest and sees that the fire he has been fleeing is out, and there is a village fairly close to it. He decides to go back to the crash area and check out the village.


Chapter Ten
by vakusuma

Jannaleen is relieved to know Ax is alive. She sends a strong telepathic signal trying to reach any of the other team members, and gets a weak response from Jack. She does not like Jack, but is glad there is another survivor. She can use a medic to care for her head wound. He is sending fear signals. She tries to reassure him, gives him her location, and tells him to meet her in Mira village. Satisfied that he will meet her, she walks toward the village. She is sure the shape-changer, mutant Kohine Freet, had something to do with the shuttle crash, and she is thinking of breaking his neck when she gets a weak call for help from Ax. She begins to run toward the village. Meanwhile, Jack is pleased with himself for fooling Jannaleen so well with his pretended fear and uncertainty. Checking his sniper rifle again, he starts toward the shuttle crash. When he finishes his business there, he thinks, he will go to the village and kill both Jannaleen and Ax.


Chapter Eleven
by Nightstalker

After checking his directions, Jack enters the forest to get into the shade away from the glare of the two suns. After several hours of quiet walking, he becomes bored and tense. Suddenly he hears sounds that indicate he is being stalked. He draws one of his throwing knives and walks on, alert now. When the stalker is close behind him, it yells and prepares to attack. Jack whirls and throws his knife with such force it is embedded in the creature's forehead. It is a Kouldeen. Jack's tension is relieved and he feels satisfied now. He gloats over the victim. He needed the killing, he thinks. Then, he remembers his training and becomes more alert as he moves toward the crash site. Where there is one Kouldeen, there are usually more.


Chapter Twelve
by Jenova

PET Team Two Armorer, Pedro, awakens in a hut in a strange place, dreaming of the port of Ansher, the Guild Hall there, and th
e beautiful seas of Oceana, his home world. He knows he is near the sea, which is quite far from the crash site. He has a bruised rib and a broken ankle, and has been unconscious for some time. When he tries to reach other team members telepathically, he is stopped by a force he does not recognize. He is sure Ax is safe because no else could have 'drowned' that Kouldeen near the fire. And if Ax is alive, Pedro is sure that he will take care of Jannaleen. But Corenna, Roe, and Jack? He can only hope. He is particularly concerned about Jack, the shy, soft-spoken Medic. It was because of the 'drowned' Kouldeen that he was here. It grabbed on to him as he ran, and rather than kill it, he dragged it with him as he escaped the fire. He has no idea if it brought him here as a prisoner or honored guest. Elder Sihanna of the Kouldeen enters the hut with the guard, Vashcin, the one Pedro dragged from the fire, and Wurzel, the Healer. Vashcin tells her Pedro is both the one who started the fire, and the one who has saved his life. She decides he is obligated by blood oath to repay Pedro, whether he wants to or not. She learns from Wurzel that not only is Pedro healing, he has tried to penetrate the barriers around the hut several times. She leaves Vashcin alone in the hut with Pedro, and he immediately tries to communicate with Pedro.


Chapter Thirteen
by Amazeroth

Nearly unconscious from the blast of light, Ax attempts to flee from the fake tree. He hears the Ancient One speaking, then loses consciousness completely. Jannaleen panics when Ax disappears from contact. She runs until she reaches Mira Village. She asks about Ax, but instead of getting answers, she is taken to Sarah's house by a stubborn old man named Callan who insists she needs a healer. Sarah takes her in, heals her with psionic powers, and tells her that Ax is upstairs sleeping. He is not there, and unable to go on, Jannaleen collapses from exhaustion and falls asleep. Meanwhile, moving toward the site of the shuttle crash, Jack decides that the best way of killing any surviving team members will be by injecting them with poison, rather than by using his sniper rifle. That way, thinking they are getting medicine, no one will be on guard until they actually begin to die, and by then it will be too late for them. He reaches the crash site and searches for bodies. Finding none, he continues on toward Mira village, preparing to deal with Ax and Jannaleen, the two team members he is sure are still alive.


Chapter Fourteen
by vakusuma

The Kohine mutant shape-changer is continuing toward the hidden Kohine base when he picks up a powerful telepathic transmission that could only come from Jannaleen. Of all the Pet Two members, he hates her the most because she is the one most likely to discern his true identity. His need to kill her has become a personal matter because of the trouble she has forced him to go to in order to preserve his fake human identity of Milton Freet. He is tempted to telepathically contact his human operative, Jack Hunt, to tell him to leave her for him to deal with, when he realizes she has just contacted Jack. Before he can contact Jack, Jack contacts him from the crash site instead. Jack tells him that Ax and Jannaleen are at Mira Village. Even though it will make things more difficult for Jack, he orders Jack to take care of Ax, but to leave Jannaleen for him to deal with. He, himself, has orders to report to the Kohine base immediately, but decides not to. Knowing that he must assume another shape in order to travel to the village quickly, he hits upon the idea of assuming the image of Ax. He does so, and as Ax starts toward Mira Village to kill Jannaleen.


Chapter Fifteen
by Dell

Jannaleen is roused from her sleep in Sarah's house in Mira Village by the most powerful telepathic voice she has ever encountered. It is warning her by name, telling her to wake and shield her thoughts. She does, and on a tightly shielded thought beam back to the entity, queries it as to who it is and what is the danger it warns of. It sends images showing first Freet, then the thing she had seen Freet morph into, then an image of her brother Ax. It is coming to kill her. Then, it shows her a picture of Jack Hunt, the team medic. He looks somehow evil. Then comes a picture of Ax. He, too, looks evil and somehow completely 'wrong'. It is clear then that both Jack and the shape-changer masquerading as Ax are coming to the village from two different directions, coming to kill her. She is told to quickly leave the village and find a large tree in the nearby forest. Ax, the real Ax, is there, and she will be safe there. She quickly leaves the village.


Chapter Sixteen
by Amazeroth

On a distant planet centuries ago, completely mad King Seth of the Raal refused to surrender to an overwhelming enemy force. The Raal, possessed of extremely powerful telepathic powers, do not kill their own kind, so he was taken captive and bound by seven of his generals. The last Raal survivors took King Seth and left their home planet forever. They found a haven in the caves of a small, unpopulated planet that later became known as Isis 17 in the Pegasus sector, and there they survived for centuries, still guarding the bound King Seth. Only one of the generals survived, General Zan, and all remained quiet for centuries until the small planet was discovered and colonized by humans. When the caves were discovered by a few of them, General Zan made a deal: in return for keeping the Raal presence a secret, he would protect them if they ever needed it. This truce was observed until the shuttle crashed.

Now, in the present, General Zan is very disturbed. Somehow, mad King Seth has been exerting a powerful influence on the remaining Raal. Nearly a third of them are now affected, and calling themselves the Followers of Seth, are paranoiac in their belief that they will be invaded. The General has been studying this matter, not paying attention to things on the surface. Upset now by Ax following the village elder into the hidden entrance of their underground stronghold, Zan mind-wipes memories of the place, orders the elder to take Ax out to the surface, and return to the village. Checking the surface, he discovers the shape-changer and learns the truth about Jack. Being very careful to modulate his powerful telepathic voice, he warns Jannaleen. He is concerned about the reason the shape-changer is on Isis 17. Have the Kohines discovered their presence? Are they after their advanced technology? Mad King Seth is also aware of the Kohines and the shape-changer. He vows to make them his next victims.

Chilled Unit
23rd Nov 2002, 14:37
Chapter Seventeen
by Dell

LooLee is a Terilla, a small flying creature native to Isis 17. With a perfectly formed humanoid body, she has long, curling antennae, and dragon-fly type wings of transparent emerald and gold. Although she can talk, she is a born telepath, and can exert telepathic thought influence to some extent. Living in close telepathic harmony with the Elder Trees, another sentient, telepathic, and wise forest species, LooLee has made it her calling to aid all injured creatures she finds in the forest. There are only a few Terilla and they seem to be immortal. She discovers Corenna, Pet Team Two's pilot/navigator and generalist, lying asleep beneath an Elder Tree. Corenna is injured, and the Elder Tree tells LooLee to guide her to Mira Village to the Healer there. She wakens Corenna who has a badly injured arm, and establishes telepathic contact with her. She tells Corenna she will guide her to the village; she also tells her that there are three other humans nearby, one of whom is evil, and describes what Corenna recognizes as a shape-changer. Guided by LooLee, she sets out toward the village.


Chapter Eighteen
by Vakusuma

After Jannaleen leaves the village, she is trying to hurry through the forest. but she feels the forest is somehow alive. As she stumbles along, she reasons out that the shape-changer must be a mutant Kohine, the mutation caused by high lambda radiation from their Prime's sun. The formidably militaristic Kohines stubbornly cling to the seven planets of their own solar system, but are infamous for their spy networks which seem to be everywhere. But here? Then, she discovers Ax lying unconscious on the ground by the big tree she recognizes from the telepathic warning. She revives him and they discover he remembers nothing other than a memory of Selene, the village elder. After assuring herself that Ax is all right, she becomes annoyed at what she considers her brother's over-protectiveness. As she hurries him to find a hiding place, she tells him that she has not located Pedro, Roe, or Corenna, and what she knows about Jack Hunt and the shape-changer.


Chapter Nineteen by Nightstalker

Pedro and the Kouldeen guard, Vashcin, make good progress in communicating. They learn each others names, and Pedro indicates his hunger. Vashcin understands, and brings him food. After he eats, Pedro falls asleep, but awakens when Jannaleen tries to reach him telepathically. He studies the barrier around the hut that is preventing him from sending outward until he finds a small moving gap in it, one that occasionally stops. Timing it carefully, he sends a short burst message back to her. Later, Wurzel comes into the hut and checks Pedro's injuries. He speaks to Pedro in broken English, and tells Pedro his name. Wurzel asks and Pedro honestly replies that he has sent a message, and tells him about the gap in the barrier. Wurzel then tells him that they will help him find his friends, and that he is removing the barrier. But Ax must rest first. Meanwhile, Jannaleen receives his burst message and is overjoyed that he is alive. A few minutes later, Ax reaches Corenna and they know that she, too, is alive.


Chapter Twenty
by Jenova

Vashcin is practicing his archery and thinking about his Blood Oath to Pedro when he hears runners coming from a nearby village. Concerned, he hurries to find out why. Pedro watches as the Kouldeens gather excitedly in the village center. One of the runners tells his story to the head personage, Wurzel, and Vashcin. After consultation, Wurzel tells Pedro that Pet Two team member Roe, the science officer, is alive! She has been captured by nearby villagers, and sealed with a barrier while they consult with this village for advice about what to do with her. He asks to go to her in the next village, and Wurzel says that is not necessary. He stands aside and Pedro sees Roe standing in the village commons with two guards. She is in her usual bad temper, having lost all of her equipment in the shuttle crash, and wastes no words telling Pedro so in terms highly unflattering to the Kouldeens. Wurzel corrects her, speaking English, and tells her that they are not Kouldeens, but khatari. Roe cannot believe that "it" talked, and Pedro can see that Roe is in fine form. It is decided that they will leave for their rendezvous with Ax and Jannaleen the next morning. Vashcin will accompany them, using the secret khatari shortcut.


Chapter 21
by Nightstalker & Wanton Destruction

The secret base of the Kohines on Isis 17 lies in a hidden cave at the base of the tallest peak on the planet. It is a forbidding place, avoided by natives and colonists alike, and this is just the location the Kohines, a reptilian race, need to keep their presence here secret. General Zabdeemia is irritated that the Kohines gathered around the stone conference table are talking among themselves and ignoring him. He becomes angry and, for little reason, has a low-ranking officer executed on the spot. This display of the brutal, warlike, 'might makes right' nature of the Kohine by the dominant male brings the group to immediate silent attention. He says the shape-changer is late, and has not yet reported back to them as instructed. He tells them their campaign to eradicate humans is not going quickly enough, making it clear that the Kohines are behind the problems the colonists are having. For that reason, he demands that the Kohine armies be assembled on the home planet and prepare for an invasion of Isis 17. Reluctantly, the group agrees. Finally, Brigadier General Aslameeni gets up nerve enough to voice a suggestion, and General Zabdeemia listens.


Chapter 22
by Amazeroth

Jack Hunt, Pet Team Two medic, is angry. The shape-changer, who Jack knows only as someone from the Colonial Office named Freet, has engaged him to eliminate the rest of the team members. He has told Jack not to touch Jannaleen because he, Freet, wants to 'do' her personally. Jack now knows the location of all the team members, and Jannaleen is with Ax, which will make killing Ax all the more difficult. Corenna is much closer, and he decides to 'do' her first, but when he calls Freet telepathically to tell him, Freet cuts him off, telling Jack to meet him in Mira village. Reaching the village, he mindscans an old man, who thinks Ax and Jannaleen are at Sarah's house, even though the old man denies it out loud. When they don't answer his mental call, he decides they must be sleeping. He meets up with the shape-changer who is again disguised as Freet, and tells him Jannaleen is at Sarah's house, but does not tell him that Ax is with her. If he kills them both, fine, if they kill him, just as fine, Jack thinks. Once out of Jack's sight, Freet does not go to Sarah's house, but flies off as a black and red striped bird. Jack goes back into the forest to intercept and kill Corenna.


Chapter 23
by Dell

Corenna, with the little Terilla LooLee sitting on her shoulder, moves through the forest toward Mira Village. LooLee is exerting a form of mind control on Corenna, causing her to relive events from the time she first heard of the mission to Isis 17 until the present. During her probing, LooLee discovers that Corenna is a very soft, tender, caring person, a part of her she covers with a tough, swaggering exterior. She also has an unusual mind that collects, orders, and collates bits of information; from this LooLee finds she now knows much more about what is going on than Corenna yet consciously realizes for herself. Corenna is contacted by Ax, who tells her Pedro and Roe are also alive. While Corenna celebrates this news, LooLee sits on a plant infested with Greeble Bugs, and has a sneezing fit. The little creatures literally go up a person's nose and cause great irritation and sneezing attacks. Corenna carefully gathers some of them and puts them in her pack. Jannaleen now contacts her and tells her about Freet, the shape-changer, now masquerading as Ax, and the traitorous Jack Hunt. The Elder Tree near Ax and Jannaleen tells them all to stop transmitting as Jack is very near the village. Silent now, Corenna, with LooLee on her shoulder, hurries toward them.


Chapter 24
by Nightstalker

Jannaleen breaks off contact with Corenna when the Elder Tree warns them. Ax sends one tightbeam warning to Pedro and Roe, and is silent, too. The Elder Tree tells them not to worry, and then says someone is coming toward them through the forest, but is not harmful. It is Sarah, bringing them food. Ax is full of strong feelings for Sarah, and would like to embrace her, but the presence of Jannaleen inhibits any such show of affection. So they talk a while, and when she says she must return to the village, Ax walks with her. Ax warns her about the shape-changer, Freet, who is masquerading as Ax, and tells her about the traitorous team member, Jack Hunt. At the edge of the forest, he embraces her, and she does not resist. When he releases her, they remain standing very close for a moment. Then, she kisses him on the cheek and leaves. He is sure that he is in love with her, and she with him.

Meanwhile, in the khatari village by the ocean, Wurzel treats Roe's injuries and says they will soon heal. They decide that Pedro and Roe, guided by Vashcin, will leave in a few hours, taking a shortcut to get them to Ax and Jannaleen before dark that same day.


Chapter 25
by vakusuma

After receiving the warning from the Elder Tree, Corenna and LooLee hurry through the forest toward Ax and Jannaleen. Suddenly, she receives a transmission from Jack Hunt asking where everyone is. Warned about his treachery by Jannaleen, Corenna exchanges insults with him, and challenges him to come and get her. LooLee is frightened, but Corenna tells her he isn't brave enough to come after her. Suddenly, with only an instant's warning from Loolee, Jack is there, firing at her with his rifle. Corenna leaps to one side just in time, realizing that this is a professional killer, not the meek little medic he pretended to be. He calls her a pug-nosed *****, and at the insult, Corenna springs into action, launching a kick that breaks his rifle in half, making it useless. In turn, he kicks her in the stomach, and throws two pairs of knives at her. Too busy dodging them to form patterns, she is taken unaware when he uses teleportation to grab her from behind. She keeps him talking as she sees LooLee getting the sneeze plants from her discarded pack, stalling until the little Terilla shoves them into Jack's face. The Greeble Bugs do their work, and Jack screams and falls to the ground in agony. Taking her time, Corenna forms a spell, and sends enough electricity through him to render him unconscious. Leaving him there, Corenna painfully moves out toward the village of Mira.


Chapter 26
by Arkron

Ax and Jannaleen are waiting for the other Pet Team two members to arrive. Ax is still preoccupied by thoughts of Sarah. He decides he is in love with her although he has just met her. He has warned Sarah about the shape-changer using his own appearance, but he is still worried that the shape-changer might go after her. He is so deep in his thoughts of her, he walks into a tree. Later, he stands watch over Jannaleen as she sleeps under the tree. He is thinking about his protective feelings for her when suddenly a voice, apparently coming from nowhere, queries him. Ax answers the questions, and, dressed in concealing clothing, Sarah's twin brother, Leon Russale, a ranger scout from Mira, drops from the tree. They introduce themselves and talk a bit. Jannaleen wakes up then, and the three of them talk. Leon asks if he might stay until their friends arrive, and Ax and Jannaleen agree that will be fine.


Chapter 27
by Jenova

The mutant Kohine shape-changer, known as Freet to the humans, watches as Leon joins Jannaleen and Ax by the tree. Now, not only has the presence of Ax with Jannaleen complicated matters, the presence of a ranger makes it even worse for him if he is to achieve his goal of killing Jannaleen. He decides he must assume another form. In the meantime, Leon, Ax, and Jannaleen discuss various aspects of Guild training. They are interrupted as an old man, very out of breath, runs up to them from the direction of the village. The old man delivers a message to Leon that Serene wants to see him back in Mira as soon as possible. Leon and the old man leave separately, and Leon returns to the village. Hiding, the shape-changer discards the appearance of the old man he used to lure Leon away. He now assumes the appearance of Sarah as he begins his hunt.


Chapter 28
by Amazeroth

Leon hurries back to Mira, but when he reports to Serene, who is in a council meeting, she tells him she has not sent for him. He checks with the old man, and discovers that he certainly has brought him no message in the forest. Ax, fooled by the shape-changer's appearance as Sarah, has walked deeper into the forest with 'her'. Left behind, Jannaleen is getting very suspicious of Sarah, and after walking and talking a bit, and getting quite close to kissing 'Sarah', Ax suggests they should be getting back to Jannaleen. Suddenly, Leon appears, shocked to find Sarah here. The shape-changer goes into a kill frenzy, metamorphoses 'Sarah's' arm, and attacks Leon. Jannaleen enters the clearing and sees the thing that is part Sarah and part shape-changer; she also sees that Ax has been shocked into unconsciousness by this encounter. Suddenly, General Zan of the Raal materializes behind the shape-changer and demands he let Leon go. The shape-changer does, and starts to revert to his normal shape, but a moment later, King Seth takes control of him. He tries to reform, but becomes a distorted version of a human Sarah. Seth bargains with Zan that he will let the people on this planet live if Zan will release him. Zan agrees. They are suddenly interrupted by one of the three humans watching this encounter asking, "Who are you?" The shape-changer is totally controlled by King Seth now; deeper in the forest, he changes into a black-scaled, four-armed, red-eyed snake creature, and leaves for the secret Kohine base to introduce King Seth to General Zabdeemia.


Chapter 29
by Dell

As Roe, Pedro, and Vashcin, using the secret shortcut, travel from the khatari village by the ocean toward Mira village in the forest, Pedro becomes sick and tired of Roe's complaining; although she outranks him, he loudly tells her off, probably the first time in her career this has ever happened. Before she can argue, Vashcin, speaking perfect English now, tells them, in effect, to shut up. He says there has been a battle here between two humans and that there is danger. Arming themselves with weapons from the pack carried by Pedro, they snap to professional attention, and soon see Corenna and LooLee. Corenna is injured, and they rush to help her. As Corenna realizes that they are Pet Team Two members, she faints. When she wakes, they introduce her to Vashcin, and Roe becomes enamored with LooLee, who stays with her, tapping into her mind for unexplained reasons. Pedro helps Corenna walk, and they slowly continue on toward Mira village.


Chapter 30
by Nightstalker

Jack Hunt, the traitorous team medic-turned-assassin, regains consciousness in the clearing where Corenna left him. He is injured, and after tending his wounds, he gathers up his knives, stopping to take some of the plants in which the Greeble Bugs make their home. He thinks he can use them later, not realizing they are just plants, and it is the Greeble Bugs that are the weapon. He assembles another rifle from parts concealed in his medic pack. The shape-changer, which Jack still thinks is a human called Freet, contacts him. He lies to Freet, denying the meeting with Corenna, and gets away with it. In the meantime, Roe, Pedro, and Vashcin, now accompanied by Corenna and LooLee, are getting close to the village. It is nearly dark now, and after Vashcin finds plants to help heal Corenna, he suggests they camp for the night and wait until morning to enter Mira village. Taking his advice, they settle in for the night, with Pedro standing first watch.


Chapter 31
by vakusuma

King Seth telepathically and the shape-changer physically leave the clearing, and General Zan appraises the three humans telepathically. He knows who each of them is, Ax, his sister Jannaleen, and Leon Russale; he discovers a strong connection between the two men which he intends to explore later, and is surprised at the powerful telepathic ability he finds in Jannaleen. He explains who he is, and shows them a hologram of the shape-changer in his true form. They all recognize him as being a Kohine. He explains the Kohines are here to discover the Raal secret of advanced psionics. He then tells them the history of the Raal, of how King Seth became insane, of his leading the Raal to the brink of extinction in his madness, and how the seven Raal
generals overthrew and bound him, but General Zan was the only one to survive. Because normal Raal are pacifists and cannot kill one of their own kind, the few survivors took the bound Seth with them, and finally found refuge in the caves under Isis 17. Everything was quiet until Seth found a way to free part of his mind and took over a third of the Raal. The humans arrived on Isis 17, and Zan made a bargain with Selene to protect the humans if she kept their existence a secret; then, the Kohine came, and a Kohine battle group is on the way to Isis 17.

After he tells them all of this, Zan is overtired, and sends the rest of the story to Jannaleen telepathically, leaving her mentally dazed for a minute. He then tells them to return to Mira village and says he is going to release King Seth. The humans are shocked and outraged. Jannaleen opens her mind completely to him, and makes most eloquent arguments as to why he should not free Seth. Seth is stunned as the full implication of her words and thoughts reach him, and he is in severe distress as he leaves. Ax, Jannaleen, and Leon, are left with no options. They move slowly back toward Mira village.


Chapter 32
by Jenova

Roe, Pedro, Vashcin, Corenna, and LooLee camp for the night not far from Mira village. Roe awakens from a nightmare of a part of her early life relived - frozen wastes, death, a deadly virus, and aloness. It is early morning and when she encounters Vashcin; she thinks of the khatari as a very primitive creature, unlike the telepathic Terilla with whom she has become enthralled, even though she is aware that LooLee is reading her every thought. A little later, the entire Pet Team Two is reunited in Mira village commons, and warm greetings are exchanged. Roe notices a bit of oddness in Pedro's reaction to Corenna's warm greeting of Ax, but discounts it.

Suddenly, Vashcin attacks Ax with an arrow, recognizing him as the one who 'drowned' him in the forest during the great fire. Ax manages to dodge and receives only a slight nick on his neck. Vashcin looses another arrow, but one of the team members casts a glyph and causes it to burn in midair. Vashcin readies another arrow, but before he can loose it, Jannaleen uses telekinesis and lifts him into the air. He drops the bow and arrow as Ax
prepares and looses a killing water spell, but before it reaches Vashcin, Pedro erects a barrier that stops it. Ax explains to Vashcin why he did what he did during the fire, and apologizes. Pedro calls on the Blood Oath and
makes Vashcin stop attacking Ax. He tells him the Blood Oath is now satisfied, but Vashcin refuses to leave, saying now he owes his life to Pedro again.

Roe asks Leon for a pencil and paper, explaining why she needs it. She also mentions a computer and datapad, although there appears to be no electricity in Mira village. Somewhat obscurely, Leon tell her he will get her one at Sarah's house, not saying what he will get her, pencil and paper, computer, or datapad. The entire group arrives at Sarah's house.

Chilled Unit
23rd Nov 2002, 14:42
Chapter 33
by Arkron

The five remaining members of Pet Team Two and Vashcin gather in Sarah's house, their most urgent task at the moment to see if there are any communication devices in the village. They decide to check with Serene, but will do this after dinner. The traitorous medic, Jack, has followed them into the village, and under cover of darkness, plants a bomb under Sarah's house, hoping to wipe them all out at once; he then goes back to the forest to wait for the explosion.

Meanwhile, General Zan, though unhappy about his decision, is making preparations to free mad King Seth. The shape-changer, under the control of King Seth, is sent into the Raal fortress to spy on General Zan, and shown the weak points so he can kill Zan if necessary. The shape-changer called 'Freet' is happy because in giving him the weaknesses of Zan, Seth has also exposed his own weaknesses, and can now be killed by 'Freet' who hates him.


Chapter 34
by Amazeroth

'Freet' is punished terribly by Mad King Seth for his treacherous thoughts. As his hate of Seth deepens, he is sent to bring General Zabdeemia to Seth.

Vashcin stands outside while the Pet Two Team members talk. He cannot help hearing the discussion and he is disturbed. He does not trust the humans. Then, when something triggers his suspicions, he investigates and discovers the bomb planted by Jack. He tells Leon, who warns everyone to get out of the house and to evacuate all the neighboring people. Ax assigns Roe and Pedro to defuse the bomb, with Sarah and Corenna to help. When they are unable to defuse it, after some argument, they leave Pedro alone with the bomb. In a last desperate action, he grabs it and throws it as far as he can. With a muffled sound, it detonates, and Pedro is left unconscious.


Chapter 35
by Dell

Alerted by the telepathic uproar (especially the strong signals sent out by Jannaleen), when the bomb is discovered, in Mira village, General Zan uses psionic powers to muffle the explosion of the bomb, rendering it harmless. The only victim is Pedro, who was closest, and who suffered from concussion trauma to his previous unhealed injuries. He will be fine. The Pet Two Team members decide that Ax and Roe, led by Vashcin, will go to Colonial Headquarters to report the situation, while Jannaleen, Corenna, and, of course, Pedro will stay in Mira village.

General Zan is emotionally torn in trying to make a decision about freeing mad King Seth. He feels that as a loyal Raal, and a pacifist, he is bound by his word, but what he has learned about the true worth of the human race in his mind exchanges with Jannaleen, shakes him to his depths. He decides not to free mad King Seth.


Chapter 36
by Nightstalker

Mad King Seth sends Freet to confront General Zan in the chamber of the blue flame. Ax and Roe, with Vashcin to guide them through khatari shortcuts, leave Mira for Colonial Headquarters to report what has happened to them, and tell them what the Kohine have done, and are planning to do to eliminate humans on Isis 17. They are making good time, when they suddenly encounter Jack, the traitor clone Pet Team Two medic. Vashcin tries to hit him with arrows to no avail, so Ax sends him back to Roe, and prepares to fight him alone.


Chapter 37
by vakusuma

Kohine Colonel Tedeenore leads an armada of 224 ships to blockade Isis 17. General Zabdeemia orders the death of shape-changer Freet, but at the last minute, Freet, whose proper name is Freetenmii, arrives, converts to King Seth, and tells General Zabdeemia his plans to take over the universe, beginning with Isis 17. He gives him 48 hours to comply with his wishes...eliminate the humans on Isis 17. However, the Kohine General orders a blockade, the ships are positioned, and messages demanding surrender are broadcast.


Chapter 38
by Jenova

When Ax ordered Vashcin back to stay with Roe, leaving him alone to fight Jack, he goes, telling her about the fighting. Roe is angry, and hurries off to help Ax. When she reaches the clearing, she finds that Ax and Jack have shot each other, Ax wounded in the shoulder, and Jack in the body. Even though Roe tries to finish Jack off, he teleports out of the way every time, playing mind games with them. Ax uses wall of water to protect himself as best he can. Roe uses her last ammunition, and as Jack prepares to fire the lethal shots, Vashcin hits him with a poisoned arrow. In agony, he teleports away. Vashcin doctors Ax and they rest overnight where they are.


Chapter 39
by Arkron

Corenna, frustrated with the waiting, has a temper fit, kicking and abusing a chair. She and Sarah talk, while upstairs, Pedro finally sees that it is better that he, too, stayed behind instead of going with Ax and Roe. A poisoned Jack finds his medical equipment and takes an antidote. Also waiting in Mira, Jannaleen and Leon are talking when General Zan appears to them with news. First, he has decided not to release Mad King Seth, and second, Ax has been wounded in a confrontation with Jack, and that group will not be able to continue to Colonial Headquarters. Jannaleen hurries to tell the others.


Chapter 40
by Amazeroth


Mad King Seth is furious because General Zan has not honored his promise to release him. He sends Freet on a mission. An injured Ax is feverish and in need of immediate medical attention, and Roe decides to let Vashcin guide them to a nearby khatari village where the villagers may or may not be friendly. As they move away from the campsite, Roe spots a strange, purple, flying snake passing overhead.


Chapter 41
by Dell

At Mira Village, Jannaleen and Leon tell Corenna, Pedro, and Sarah, about the fight and Ax's injury. Jannaleen also tell them about General Zan's decision to not release mad King Seth, thus giving the humans a reprieve. It becomes clear that Leon is falling in love with Jannaleen, and she is very attracted to him; it also becomes clear that Sarah loves Ax. Then the Elder Tree sends a message through LooLee that someone must hurry to intercept Roe, Vashcin, and Ax, that the village they are going toward is full of enemies, and that Sarah must be one of those who goes on this mission. Sarah and Corenna, with LooLee as their guide, leave on this mission.


Chapter 42
by vakusuma


Keesha, General Zan's aide, comes to warn him of the attempt that will be made by two followers of Seth to force him to release Seth. He already knew of the attempt, and is prepared for them. The two confront him in the chamber of the nexus. He refuses to accede to their wishes and dampens their weapon, making it useless. His guards take them prisoners, and he explains to Keesha that Seth is slowly but surely weakening the bonds that hold him and will soon be free. When that happens, because the Raal cannot kill, particularly one of their own, all that can save them will be the few humans on Pet Team Two. They must do so before he frees his consciousness from his trapped physical form and is loosed on an unsuspecting universe in the form of Freet, the shape-changer.


Chapter 43
by Nightstalker

At the Federation Capitol of Oceana, General Tyran has received news that Isis 17 Is under blockade by the Kohines, and has called a meeting of his colleagues. Anticipating a war between the Federation and the Kohines, the decision was made that they would station ships and troops in the nearby Gendel System, and pretend to be engaging in training manuevers. Sarah and Corenna, with LooLee as their guide reach the camp of Roe, Ax, and Vashcin. Corenna sends a coded telepathic message to Jannaleen telling her Ax will be all right, and this enrages King Seth even more as he hears the transmission but does not understand it.


Chapter 44
by Arkron

While Sarah tends Ax, Corenna and Roe discuss the possibilities of Jack still being alive, and decide he probably is. Then, as Ax is improving, they decide to stay where they are for one more day, then make for Colonial Headquarters. On the next day, Ax is well enough to travel and they head out. At midday, when they stop to rest a bit from the heat, the huge purple flying snake attacks them. When the attack is over, they discover that Vashcin has disappeared.


Chapter 45
by Amazeroth

Jack Hunt is in a delirium from the poison arrow wound he received at the hands of Vashcin. His self-treatment has been somewhat successful because he is not dead. Death would have been immediate without the treatment he gave himself. He relives or dreams flashes of his past. A cloned human, he does not understand who he is no matter how he tries. He remembers- -dreams- -hallucinates that he had a friend named Amanda who was, too, searching for a way to escape from the cloning institution. She is mind washed and reprogrammed. He escapes alone…and returns to awareness in forest near Mira village. He decides the Pet Team Two members can give him answers and he heads for the village. Meanwhile, King Seth, as presented by the shape-changer, talks to General Zabdeemia at the Kohine base. Exerting mind control, he extracts an oath of loyalty and obedience from the leader of the Kohines.


Chapter 46
by Dell

When Vashcin returns to awareness, he is in the claws of the purple flying snake being carried through the air. He manages to jab it in the foot with a poisoned arrow, and brings it down. He treats himself, and taking trophies from the creature leaves to make his way back to the place where the attack took place. Roe and Corenna are trying to decide what to do…move on toward Colonial Headquarters, or go look for Vaschin. It is then made clear that the Elder Trees are the planet, sentient and aware and powerful. The eldest of these, the one by Mira Village holds the power of life and death in the little games and battles being fought on it. It has yet to decide whether to let things play themselves out, or end them immediately and remove the threat to itself and its creatures.


Chapter 47
by Nightstalker

General Tyran gets the Federation battle fleet moving on it's way to the Gendel System for pretend manuevers. Jack, now in delirium, fixes on Jannaleen as the only one who can help him, and moves closer to Mira Village. Vashcin, on his way back to the humans, discovers some water that seems to have strange healing power. He fills his water bag with it, before he continues on his way. Meanwhile, General Zan of the Raal becomes aware that King Seth is broadcasting triumph of some kind, and decides to warn the humans that something is afoot.


Chapter 48
by vakusuma
General Zan puts Jannaleen through a mental training session, then contacts her when she wakens. She tell him to find out King Seth's intentions regarding the shape shifter, and he warns her about danger on the way to her. Jack Hunt appears and demands she enter his mind and tell him his true identity. She does and together they discover that he is a regular clone who has some of a prototype killer clone's DNA incorporated into him. He escaped the cloning facility under questionable circumstances. He is/was was an agent of the Kohines. When he learns all of this about his true identity, he collapses unconscious, and Jannaleen tells Pedro that Jack has confronted and overcome his worst enemy…himself.

-------------------

For Chapters 49-present see Dell's "Once upon a story" thread :)

Dell
24th Nov 2002, 22:18
You know, upon rereading this from the beginning, I am impressed. For greenhorns, total beginners at the art of MAS writing, we really came up with a great story. The characters were outstanding and memorable, there were two romances going on at once, all kinds of monsters were included ... Milton Freet the shape-changer was the best ... and Loolee is totally loveable. The all-wise Elder tree...

Hey, people, who all wants to see this end with glory?

Amazeroth
26th Nov 2002, 19:17
Well, I'd kind of like to, but right now I've got stuff to do... for school and other things... and then there's the MAS 4... muh

Canyon Wolf
6th Dec 2002, 12:17
*chokes*

Dell
6th Dec 2002, 16:19
Write for us, Canyon Wolf. Let's make it group participation time once more...all of us write a little and let the world with two suns drift away into our memories as being ... a good one.

Take your characters to their destinies...

Dell
17th Dec 2002, 21:15
I am going to put the same post here and in the other MAS 1 thread.

At this moment, the final chapter(s) of this story are being written.

It won't be long now...if any of you nice old writers have ideas, please contact Vakusuma or Dell.