It had been nearly five years since they'd come, the morphers. She supposed that wasn't really what they were called, but hell if any human knew their real name. Morphers they'd been dubbed by the people who used to live in the places like New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware - the entire eastern seaboard really - and morphers they'd stay until someone said otherwise. Perhaps not even then. It didn't really matter what they were called, though, not really. They were still here, still killing, destroying and that was all that was important. Millions had died in the last five years, but that didn't compare to the billions that had fallen in the initial invasion. Nothing had been able to compare to that carnage, that level of devastation and loss. Mankind was teetering on the brink of extinction, but like the fighter he was, hanging on to every possible advantage keeping him alive. Fighters, those strong in body and mind were all that was left now. There wasn't room for anything less than that. Not in this world where your next breath could be your last and where no day, no hour, no minute was guaranteed. Mesenia was just one such person who knew these laws in the new, harsh and often savage life survivors were forced to lead lest they disappear entirely. She'd been in New York when the end of the world had started five years ago and had lost both parents that first day. Nothing could have prepared her more for the changes that would overtake her life and the lives of every human on the planet. Cities had toppled, burned and those in high-population areas had been the first to face mass massacre, unable to escape. There had been no time for evacuation and no where to go. It had taken the morphers all of six months to wipe out every major government and a year total to eliminate all major military forces. Five years of fighting, retreating, losing ground, striking back, losing more ground and just trying to stay alive, always on the move, had dwindled the population to a few ten thousand from eight billion. Mesenia often wondered if she should feel lucky to be counted among those still living. She was only twenty-four, nineteen when the invasion happened, and already she could see little in her future to look forward to, had seen things most people twice her age hadn't and had done things few would ever do in their life-time....or perhaps such had been true in the old world. In this new world, everyone did things they never thought they would do. Some people even became something they'd never considered possible. It wasn't common knowledge, but Nia was one such person. Oh, she was considered strange already, that was for sure, but most people didn't know the half of it. With straight, dark brown hair that only just brushed her shoulders, a slim build that boasted few curves and a fair complexion that just refused to tan, she wasn't much to look at, she knew. One could easily skim over her face in a crowd for she wasn't of any great beauty, nor a great ugliness. She was....forgettable. The only remarkable thing about her, perhaps, were her amber eyes. Like that of a wolf, burning and intense, her stare unnerved most people. Mesenia herself was the only one who knew that such a color had not come to her irises until after the invasion - her eyes having been a brown just as forgettable as the rest of her before the end had come. Still, that wasn't what made the young woman so strange in the eyes of others. No, it was the creature that could often be found twined about her shoulders. Long in body, covered in brick-red scales and sporting a pair of leathery wings, the small dog-sized dragon could be mistaken for nothing else than what it was. The creatures had come after the invasion and it was quickly deduced that they belonged to the aliens, to the morphers. Vicious and deadly, they'd killed nearly as many humans as the morphers themselves had and were sneaky creatures who constantly found and gave away the position of rebels. They were hated little creatures....and the fact that Mesenia had one tamed to her hand alienated her from the others...even as they saw use in her. It was a delicate line she walked, but Nia was good at balancing. Still, even she was rocked by the news when the Commanders came back from their meeting. Taking shelter in the ruins of a city was not safe, but it was necessary to bring all the factions of the rebellion together for even brief meetings to discuss supplies, attacks, strategy, status of the factions and their next movements and meeting points. It rarely involved the entire 'army' getting an announcement from all five Commander's though, and like the rest of the population, Nia moved to hear what would be said. What was shared was almost too strange to believe. Another alien race that wanted to help them? What the hell was going on? What kind of trick was this?