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:: Ellimist Chronicles
:: Book Overview

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Narrator: Ellimist

Release Date: February 2001

Cover Quote: none

Plot Summary: He is called the Ellimist. A being with the ability to alter space and time. A being with a power that will never be fully understood. He is the reason Elfangor came to Earth. He is the reason the Earth now has a fighting chance. And though his actions never seem quite right or wrong, you can be certain they are never, ever what anyone expects.

This is the beginning and the middle of the story. A story that needs to be told in order to understand what might happen to the future. The future of the Animorphs. The future of humanity. The future of Earth.

He is called the Ellimist. And this is his story...



:: Sample Chapter

My full name is Azure Level, Seven Spar, Extension Two, Down-Messenger, Forty-one. My chosen name is Toomin. I like the sound of the word, which is all the reason you need for a chosen name.

My 'game' name is Ellimist. Like Toomin it doesn't mean anything in particular. I just thought it sounded breezy. Never occurred to me when I chose the name that it would follow me for so long, and so far.

Pangabans were an interesting race well-adapted to their unusual world. They lived beneath an eternally gray, clouded sky. They had never seen their own sun clearly, had no notion of stars or other planets. This was particularly ironic because their own planet was in fact a moon that orbited a much larger planet well-suited to life.

Had they been blessed with an occasional break in the clouds they might have become a very different race. It is hard to imagine that any species could have lived beneath the sky-filling arc of the main planet, with all its obvious lushness, and not become obsessed with a desire to learn space travel.

But the Pangabans knew nothing of this, nothing at all of anything beyond their own damp and gloomy world.

The Pangabans were six-legged, which is a common enough configuration. They carried their heads high above the slender, muscular body that was little more than a junction of the six long legs.

They were skimmers. Their feet were large, webbed, and concave which allowed them to walk on the water that covered most of the planet aside from a few soggy islands. They fed by lowering a sort of net from their body down into the water and trawling for microscopic plants and animals of which there was an abundance.

They were intelligent. Not Ketran intelligent, perhaps, but self-aware. They knew who they were. Knew that they existed. Had a language. A culture, mostly involving amazing water dances, feeding rituals, and a religion that centered on belief in underwater spirits that either gave them food or witheld food.

DNA analysis indicated a potential for development. The Pangaban world received a decent dose of radiation, nothing deadly, just enough to cause a respectable rate of mutation. And despite their awkward physiques and the limitations of their planet's natural resources, I believed they could be brought to a level of technology equal to, say, the Illaman Confederation.

There was one possible problem: the main planet around which the Pangabans revolved, was populated by an aggressive species of four-legged, two-handed rodents called The Gunja Wave. The Gunja Wave were primitive creatures, only dimly self-aware. But their DNA held promise, too. And their aggressiveness might give them an edge if the two races ever collided.

Still, I had an instinct. I memmed my friend Azure Level, Nine Spar, Mast Three, Right-Messenger Twelve. His chosen name is Redfar. Hi 'game' name is Inidar.

"I'll take the Pangabans, if you choose to accept."

"Gladly," he memmed back. "You underestimate the value of sheer aggression. You're an idealist, Ellimist."

"Oh? Well, step into my lair, said the dreth to the chorkant."

Inidar laughed. The laugh worried me a bit. He seemed very confident. But I wasn't going to show him my own doubts. "Shall we immerse?" It was the ritual challenge of the game.

"On the other side," Inidar agreed, accepting the challenge.

I checked my real world position, checked to see whether there were any pending memmoes for me to deal with. I didn't want to be interrupted. Then I opened the shunt and was all at once inside the game.

I floated bodiless above the Pangaban world. Drifted above an endless gray-green soup choked with seaweeds and algae and gliding eels that could reach lengths of three miles. I skimmed above one of the mossy islands, brushed one of the squat, stunted, unlovely trees and found a colony of Pangabans.

The Pangabans were trolling as always, but also playing at something. A game that involved moving in slow, ever tighter circles around one central person. Not a complex game, certainly not in comparison with the game I played.

Still, I was heartened. Surely an ability to conceive and execute a game was a good sign in any species. It was a gentle, slow and nearly pointless game, but that could evolve. Games had evolved on other planets, among other peoples. My own people, the Ketrans, being perhaps the pre-eminent example.

I wondered what Inidar would do with the Gunja Wave. The essence of the game was minimalism: do the least thing needed to accomplish a goal.

I knew the least thing. I knew what I would do. A single, simple movement: I would part the clouds and cause the skies to become 10% clear on any given day. If I had understood fully, if my instincts were correct, that single change in the parameters would launch a revolution among the Pangabans.

I slowed, floated, righted, deployed my wings and settled down to stand upon the water, invisible to the solemn, slow-moving Pangabans.

I like to feel the texture of the game. I like to be inside it. Only there, only with the alien wind in your wings and the ground beneath your pods (or water, in this case), can you fully know the place. And the place is integral to the species.

I looked up at the unbroken blanket of gray clouds. I couldn't let in too much light or the entire ecosystem would collapse. Just a glimpse.

I felt a thrill of anticipation. The Pangabans were on the verge of an experience they could not even guess at. Their eyes would be open for the first time. Their universe would expand by a factor of a billion percent.

I smiled. And I memmed the game core: part the clouds.

And the clouds parted.

It was night. The clouds tore apart, a slow, silent rip. And above the Pangaban the stars appeared. And into that swatch of speckled blackness rolled the planet, all green and blue and orange-scarred.

Slowly, one by one, fearful, the Pangaban did what none of their species had ever done before: they looked up.

They looked up and moaned their gurgling cries.

I heard Inidar's memo in my mind. "Shall we accelerate?"

"Fire it up," I answered and memmed the game core.

A hurricane! A hurricane of wind and water and earth and time itself. A swirling madness of change. This was the ultimate moment in the game. We had made our changes and now watched time reel forward.

I broke out the displays: DNA mutation, climate changes, technology index, population. For the first two hundred thousand years there was very little change. Then I began to spot the DNA differences in sight and body shape. The Pangabans were selecting for longer range vision, for color vision, for neck length.

And then, all at once, trouble. The algae count was dropping like a stone. It couldn't be! Increased sunlight almost inevitably means an increase in flora. But it was true, the seas were dying.

And then, as I stood untouched amidst the hurricane of change, the first of the carnivore eels emerged to attack the Pangabans. The Pangaban population was decimated in a flash of time.

DNA evolution began to come to the rescue of the Pangabans. They selected for size, downtrending. The smaller were faster, able to evade the eels. Smaller and smaller till the once-towering Pangabans were scarcely larger than one of us Ketrans.

The eel threat diminished. And now at last came the first fluctuation in the technology index. The Pangabans had learned to make a tool. A weapon, of course. A simple spear that could be used to turn the tables on the eels. In short order Pangabans were hunting and eating the eels. Primitive seine-fishers had become true predators.

A million years passed and a very different species now crossed the planet's seas armed with spears and bows. They formed hierarchies dominated by warriors. Their culture shifted ground, favoring a sky god who brought the gift of weapons.

Yes, yes, it was working well enough. Another million years. Perhaps two, and they would learn to move beyond weapons, to . . .

And then, in a flash so sudden it was barely a blip of time, every index went flat. The Pangabans had disappeared. Extinct.

I cursed and heard Inidar's memmed laughter.

I reeled back and slowed the playback speed. There it was: the Gunja Wave, still rodentine, but now walking erect, arrived on the Pangaban world in astoundingly primitive space craft and promptly killed and ate the Pangaban. They hunted them to extinction and left the planet devoid of its only intelligent species.

"Shall we call the game?" Inidar offered.

I sighed. "What was your move?"

"Oh, a very small one," Inidar said. "I increased their rate of reproduction by a very small percentage. This heightened their natural aggression. And I guessed that your move would be to open the Pangaban skies. Population growth pressures, a limited food supply, and the ability to see the Pangaban surface very clearly . . . My Gunja Wave wanted to eat your species."

"Yes, and they did," I said. "I call the game."

"You have to learn to avoid naivete, Ellimist. It's not the good and worthy who prosper. It's just the motivated."

"Yes, and you can go surface," I muttered. "See you at the perches for free flight?"

"I'm there, Ellimist."

I shut down the game and opened my eyes to the real world around me.

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