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Sunkiss frowned, ears dipping slightly.  "...worse?" The fact things could get worse than they already seemed was never good.  It hoped MP would explain.  Moonshadow continued with the statue impersonation.

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How do I explain it? MP thought. "Have you ever see an animal kept in a cage that is too small, especially a wild animal?" MP shivers as she remembers how it was.

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Sunkiss' tail flicked this time as it contemplated.  There was something in the back of its mind to do with some other animals being contained in large enclosures to either heal or be studied or something, but that had been one of many, many things it had backburned as being able to pick up if they spent long enough immersed where they were, its initial research had been primarily to pick up as much language and cultural ideas and norms as possible.  It worked with the idea of being enclosed in a small enclosure and didn't like it; the strong tinge of fear, possibly disgust from MP seemed to support its tentative conclusion.  At length, Moonshadow shot Sunkiss a glance tinged with curiousity.

"That's outside my experience," Sunkiss said at length, "but it doesn't sound particularly pleasant."  It didn't matter how unpleasant the situation turned out to be.  "How do we deal with them?"

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"I can asure you, that it's not pleasant at all, it is anything but pleasant." MP asured Sunkiss. "If you're close to your packmates, you may be a part that's missing from >the collection< and you'll be found, if not..." MP paused, her mind screamed NO, but she knew, that she had to say it. "Then we could find something to fit >the collection<." But I don't think one can simply deal with a..." MP tries to find the right word in her mind. ">A collector<. Either way, I have no desire to stay here."

[><=said with disgust]

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Sunkiss and Moonshadow glanced at each other again, Moonshadow this time vaguely curious beneath the blank Pahlawan veneer.  "Collection?" Sunkiss shook its head twice, hard enough to make the mouse ears flap a little.  That, together with what MP had mentioned in the bar about this relatively new-to-it "trophy hunter" variation on the still-new-and-somewhat-incomprehensible idea of "sport hunters", was not boding well.  It didn't think it wanted to be part of a collection, or anyone else really.  Except perhaps Slider, it thought, not without some vindication.  If Nightshade's frustrated thought dump before the agonising cut off (thank goodness for Abraxas shielding it and Moonshadow, Sunkiss shuddered to think what the brunt of that would have been like) was anything to go by, if it hadn't been for Slider none of this would be happening.  And MP was right, they'd been standing still too long.  Moonshadow was getting edgy.  "Can you come with us..." that could be suspicious sounding to paranoid people, they would be suspicious if it was put to them, "...or us with you..." more dangerous, but Moonshadow would understand when it explained, "...to explain?"  They needed as much information as they could get.

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"I'll go with you, there is not any room in the vehicle I came with, for all of us." MP smiles, as she thinks about how she arrived to this place. "I'll tell you all I know, when we're on our way off this place."

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Sunkiss turned to Moonshadow properly.  Moonshadow turned its head to regard Sunkiss, gemstone eyes glittering in the partial light.  Sunkiss very quickly explained what was going on in a swift barrage of clicks, whistles and rumbles varying in pitch to fine tune the thoughts.  Moonshadow was an oasis of calm, not responding in any fashion, but that was normal.  At length she simply rumbled an agreement.  Sunkiss turned back to MP.

"We ran over the tops of the buildings," it explained.  "Our...ship...is in an open area that way," it pointed the direction through the building they were standing next to.  "Do you need to get your vehicle first?"

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While Sunkiss and Moonshadow talked amongs themself, MP could not help thinking, that that was one language she'd love to learn.

"Actually it's not mine. I..." MP smiled nervously "I was a stowaway on that one." MP admitted. "You see, when one is on the run, then it's not good to leave any traces."

MP prayed that they'd understand without any more questions. Once she was onboard she'd *MP diden't know why she was thinking this* tell them everything.

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Sunkiss nodded, and hummed softly to Moonshadow.  Moonshadow looked at Sunkiss, then boosted it up to the first level of the fire escape with a lot less effort than it looked like it should have taken.  Moonshadow sprang up lightly after it and then moved ahead, nimbly scaling the fire escape by leaping from landing to landing from the outside while Sunkiss waited for MP before acending the stairs in a rapid but otherwise normal fashion.  They then moved across the roofs at MP's speed towards the large piece of grass in the middle of this odd stone...buildings they were called...infested place where they'd left Akismet.  Moonshadow ran low to the ground partly out of necessity to not stand out so much on the top of the building and partly because Sunkiss figured it would much prefer to shift back to its preferred form and do the run on fours.  It sent a quiet reminder to hold form as while MP seemed quite comfortable with them looking quite different from her, it wasn't sure how she would handle them changing shape.  It seemed to freak some people out.

[ooc - left a post for you to be able to throw more Stalkers or whatever at us on the short trip if you like, otherwise my next post will have them reaching the Leviathan :)]

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MP followed as quickly as she could, she noticed some Stalkers was following them, but she knew, that they wouldn't do anything other but to find out where she was going. She hoped, that other two wouldn't misunderstand their intentions.

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Followers.

Sunkiss blinked and glanced across at Moonshadow, who had quickened the pace very slightly and was low level contemplating changing course.  Sunkiss was tired and didn't want to change course.  Do not want deviation.

Moonshadow flicked one ear towards Sunkiss, giving off irritation.

Much tired.  Hostile followers?

Not know.

Ignore.

The dialogue was raw and fleeting thought between them, the only evidence of conversation happening at all was Sunkiss wordlessly grumbling.  It was saving its breath for running.  Moonshadow glanced at Sunkiss again.  If it was in its preferred form it would just carry the smaller Duta.  The forms they were wearing were slightly inconvenient for that kind of weight distribution though.  It monitored its companion just in case it would have to be carried.  Moonshadow could run for ages, running was one of its favourite things, Sunkiss was very tired.  Reluctantly, monitoring the spots of presence it could feel shadowing them, Moonshadow slowed down again to a pace that MP seemed comfortable with.

They were unmolested when they hit the ball park.  There was absolutely nothing untoward-looking in there.  The Martian lookalikes led the way to one of the boxes at the top of the stadium.  Moonshadow touched the middle of the door rather than the knob, and the door swung open.  Moonshadow stood lookout as Sunkiss flitted inside, flopping in exhaustion into one of the comfortable looking chairs and catching its breath.  Moonshadow waited by the door for MP to enter.

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"There's something wrong with this picture." MP couldn't help thinking. "They don't look like they're... Like they're in sync with their bodies. Maybe that's why... Maybe they're even... just like me."

*As MP reached the door, she turned around and made a mix of a bow and a curtsy, while she ran her right hand down her left arm, as her hand left her arm, it did the wave movements, then she turned around and walked inside.*

"One must always say goodbye." She said, almost like a note to herself, to Moonshadow, as she passed Moonshadow.

*Though she was tried from the long run, she diden't act much like it, so as she got inside, she just went over to Sunkiss and stood by the chairs.*

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Moonshadow's ears flicked as it stopped sensing the environment long enough to look directly at MP when it thought it was being addressed.  Its eyes glinted in puzzlement as it not only wasn't sure if MP had actually been talking to it or to herself, and either way had no idea what she'd just said.  Moonshadow habitually watched to make sure MP wouldn't make hostile moves at Sunkiss, then glanced over its shoulder at the surrounds again before stepping inside.  The door swung shut behind it.

Aki.  Move elsewhere.

Sunkiss looked up at Moonshadow as the Pahlawan issued the order to the Leviathan.  There was a deep rumble of acknowledgement, and then the "box" lurched slightly and raised higher.  Outside the windows some of the surrounding stadium seating and walls rippled slightly as a thick, transparent and viscous looking liquid slithered over it, retreating towards the box.  The insides of the box itself shifted into softer looking, warm beige.  Moonshadow moved towards the fornt window, which had bowed into a cockpit shaped visor, and placed its hands on the sill, stroking the fleshy walls affectionately.

Sunkiss whistled into the air.  Around them there was a low, pleasing hum.  Sunkiss looked up at MP, still looking tired but a lot more relaxed.  The armchair it had flopped into had morphed into a beanbag like thing that moulded comfortably around its form.  Being within the Leviathan was energising.  "MP, this is Akismet.  It is pleased to meet you.  Please take a seat," it offered, waving at a nearby chair, which had changed shape into a more pod-like structure.  "And tell us more about these...collectors."  It very vaguely copied how MP had said "collectors" earlier as it wasn't certain if that was how the word was pronounced or if it had merely been dramatically coloured by the disgust that had rolled off MP when she said it.

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*MP couldn't help but let out a whistle when Akismet had changed.*

"Wow, your Akismet is the most awesome vessel, I've ever come across." MP said with amazement, as she removed her twin kantanas from her back, laid them on the floor next to the chair, Sunkiss had offered her and sat down.

"Let me start by telling you that what you see is not the real me, but only the hologram that I've created around me, as I have learned that those who have seen the real me, have suffered horrible deaths and I don't want that to happen to anyone anymore. I have noticed that you are also not what you seem to be, but I accept it no matter what reason you have for not showing me your true colors since I don't show you mine."

"Now back to your question. A collector is someone, who takes something, because he or she want it. The worst kind of collector, is the collector, that collects "things", that are alive, just because they look good in his or her collection. I got collected because..." MP gets a lump in her throat and has to fight her tears, as the pictures of her dead relatives flashes through her mind. "Because I'm the last of my bloodline." MP steadies herself. "Do you have any idea, why a collector would take you for his or her collection?"

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The chair moulded to seat MP more comfortably.  Sunkiss smiled proudly at the compliment to Akismet, then glanced at Moonshadow at MP's preamble.  Sensing that it was being looked at, Moonshadow looked over its shoulder back at Sunkiss for a moment before looking back out the front.  Sunkiss drew a bit more energy from Akismet almost reflexively even as it thought, if it understood MP correctly, at least it wouldn't have to worry about her freaking out if Moonshadow's form slipped while it was sleeping or if they managed to get into another scuffle and it forgot itself and fought the way the Pahlwan fought.  Sensing upset, Sunkiss automatically reached out and touched MP lightly on the arm, exuding comfort, as she struggled with what it guessed were some rather appalling, better left buried kind of memories.  It returned to a semi-reclined comfortable position when she got herself together again.

At the important question, Sunkiss had to stop a while to think.  It thought for long enough that Moonshadow glanced at it and MP again with a degree of curiousity before once more focusing on wherever Akismet had decided to head.  "It would help, I guess," it ventured, "if it was known whether they were interested in my Pack specifically..." it looked carefully at MP for a little while, wondering how far it could trust her.  On a low level it simply didn't want to freak her out, but she had already given an indication she knew that the forms they were wearing weren't their normal ones, so perhaps it would be all right.  On a deeper level, those Stalker things had come after them harder when they had found out.  "...or in my people as a whole."

Sensing Sunkiss' intent as a deep, raw thing, Moonshadow turned all the way around and looked quizzically at it, tail lashing.  Sunkiss rippled like a mirage, its honey coloured Martian fur bleaching to white with a darker spotted pattern, the round mouse ears tapering into large cat ones, losing a bit of mass in the body to the large wings sprouting out of wing shoulders behind the front leg cat shoulders.  The large, winged ocelot-like creature, smaller in stature than its Martian form had been, regarded MP calmly with eyes the same shade of blue as the Martian form had worn, but with the same gemstone structure that its companion seemed unable to shift.  While it had a muzzle of sorts, it lacked a nose and mouth.  Sunkiss rippled again,the fur thinning down to almost nothing, skin darkening to a creamy coffee colour, the cat ears shrinking down and rounding into comparatively tiny human ones, the fur on the head growing into a shock of black hair framing a fine boned face that now contained dark brown human eyes, as well as a nose and mouth, and a slender, well toned male body.  As part of the transformation it also affected the same clothes it had worn in the Martian guise, of the dark blue jeans with the biker boots, a white muscle shirt and a vest that looked as though it was carelessly thrown over the top...but was actually a part of it.

"The first form is my..." there was a word.  It could not think of the nearest translation.  "...the one I use when I don't need to blend in.  This one I copied from you, partially because I was curious about it and mostly because I can't speak this language in my form."  Sunkiss smiled in a gentle, disarming fashion.  It hoped it would land safely from this leap of faith.

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"Since there's a pack of you, I don't think, it's the same kind of collector, who's after you, who's after me, unless your pack is the last pack of it's kind. I really need to know more about your kind and your pack to have an idea about what this Collecetor is after."

*MP had seen shapeshifters before, but could never stop being amazed by looking at one shifting it's form.*

"Shapeshifting is an great way to hide who you really are, I haven't seen your specific kind before though. I'm greatfull that you wanna be in this form, just to be able to speak with me, if you want to teach your language to me, I'll do my best to learn it as quickly as posible, so you don't have to concentrate on keeping this form. But first of all I need to know more about your kind and where you come from, I know that I ask for much, but I really wanna find out, why this Collector has captured your packmates." MP said.

"Or if this is a far-fetched way to recapture me." Ran through her thoughts.

"You could start with providing me with your name for a start." MP said with a smile as she realised that she diden't even know the name of this male creature.

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[ooc - yeh she does, it told her their names last page :)]

Sunkiss smiled.  "Holding the form is no problem for me unless really stressed or tired.  He looked over at Moonshadow and clicked at her a few times, followed by a whistle.  Moonshadow felt doubtful for a moment, but seeing as MP had just seemed fascinated rather than repulsed, and Sunkiss seemed at ease, it relaxed and dropped the Martian guise.  Its height and build didn't change, but it lost a bit of torso lebgth and bulk into very long back limbs and a slightly thicker tail, which sprouted a flat, heart-shaped paddle on the end.  The dreds got longer but some of them now appeared attached at least down to midback.  The Martian ears elongated into an odd kind of shape until it looked like it had fancy butterfly wings for ears.  Appearing a bit more relaxed than previously, Moonshadow parked on a couch like protrusion that bulged up on the floor close by and resumed looking out the cockpit.  Resuming the conversation, Sunkiss continued: "If your collector is interested in rarity we will be a sore disappointment, there are many of us.  Most of us on our planet, a number on several others.  Most of those others are on diplomatic or..."other" missions.  A few have Bonded with other people and remained with them, blended of course.  Staying away is safer for them, some of the purists back home can be quite dangerous.  I don't know how these people think, perhaps it may work better if you ask me questions."

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[ooc - Ups, my mistake. :)]

Seeing Moonshadow shapeshift, MP got struck an strange idea about, why a collector would like to get his/her hands on this pack. She also wished, that she could show them her true colors, just like they'd just showen her theirs, but no, she would not risk it, the danger was too big. If they even knew, where she was from, then... Yes, she could at least do this.

"It seems to me, that you think I'm from Earth, since I told you that I'm more like a human from Earth, but eventhough my home and my kind are similar to Earth and it's inhabitants, I'm not from Earth. This infomation should not endanger your lifes. I can also tell you a bit of my past if you want to know." MP confessed. "As for questions to ask you: Can all of your packmates shapeshift? If yes, are your pack the only one who's got this abillity?" MP asked.

[ooc - I don't think I'll be able to post in the next couple of days but I'll try to find a way. :)]

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[ooc - no worries, take your time.  Also I just realised from my previous descriptions that the bar seems to be on Earth, must have done the dimenson hop thing again when I wasn't looking ;)]

"You can or not as you like," Sunkiss replied, "I would like to know."  It listened to the next question, then smiled.  "Yes, all of us can shapeshift.  All my people can.  Some of us easier than others."  Sunkiss glanced over at Moonshadow again.  "I'm an Ambassador.  I can look however I need to look.  Moonshadow is a Warrior.  As you probably noticed, they can't change their eyes or their colours.  They shift their bodies quickly and easily to be able to fight, but holding a form not theirs for a long period of time is tiring."

Moonshadow flicked its tail and then twisted just its head 180 degrees to regard them again with its glittering dark purple gems, probably sensing they were talking about it.  Sunkiss smiled at it.  Moonshadow flicked its tail again and then sat up on the seat like a cat, head swivelling back round the right way and rumbling deep in its chest.  The Leviathan had settled into a very low orbit at plane cruise altitude so it could emulate the colour scehem of the clouds and continue skimming energy form the planet.

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