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Ravenfood
Nov 4, 2011


Yeah but he is also a dick.

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Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

I think it can be true both that David is a dick and also that the existing Animorphs are doing a really bad job with him in making him part of the team. In the Animorphs' defense, though, this whole thing pretty much fell in their laps while they're in the middle of preventing the leaders of the most powerful nations in the world from being kidnapped or controlled by the Yeerks. They're also young teens who don't have the training or resources to really help a kid who's just seen his parents abducted by aliens, lost his home and everything important to him, and is being hunted..

Jazerus
May 24, 2011



they have to take him along. he's a flight risk and they've kitted him out with enough morphs for him to escape and operate independently already. they just plain don't trust him, which is actually fair - in retrospect, they shouldn't have trusted themselves in book 1 right after they discovered that tom was a controller and it's genuinely a miracle (i.e. ellimist bullshit) that none of the original kids are reckless enough to expose their whole operation. it might be possible to integrate david eventually but right now they have to treat him as a conscript. it sucks and it's not something any kid thrust into this situation would like or even understand, but they're not making all the wrong plays here - just some of the wrong plays.

FlocksOfMice
Feb 3, 2009


Yeah I remember David being a big danger but like wow, they are super poo poo to him. They didn't need to take him along for this mission? He's got 0 experience and this is one of their biggest, most intense missions yet? But,

it all loops back to the problem of "these are 13 year old child soldiers fighting a secret guerilla war"

disaster pastor
May 1, 2007



Jazerus posted:

they have to take him along. he's a flight risk and they've kitted him out with enough morphs for him to escape and operate independently already. they just plain don't trust him, which is actually fair - in retrospect, they shouldn't have trusted themselves in book 1 right after they discovered that tom was a controller and it's genuinely a miracle (i.e. ellimist bullshit) that none of the original kids are reckless enough to expose their whole operation. it might be possible to integrate david eventually but right now they have to treat him as a conscript. it sucks and it's not something any kid thrust into this situation would like or even understand, but they're not making all the wrong plays here - just some of the wrong plays.

Yup, I'm on this side. They could have left him for infestation (though I think that would have been an unsafe play), but instead they gave him an opportunity to avoid it, to remain free, and they put themselves all at tremendous risk so he could have that chance. There's no way that risk doesn't weigh on their minds; if David fucks up and gets caught, if David blows a mission in a way that reveals their identities, if David turns them in to Visser Three to try to trade them for his parents, then the same thing that happened to his family happens to them and their families. The fates of everyone they love are in the hands of a kid who's already proven to be the dickhead everyone dreaded getting paired with in science lab. It's not a fair situation for David, but it'd be another, possibly catastrophically, dumb move in this little series of dumb moves for them to completely trust David immediately.

Jazerus
May 24, 2011



disaster pastor posted:

The fates of everyone they love are in the hands of a kid who's already proven to be the dickhead everyone dreaded getting paired with in science lab.

now this, this i don't agree with. it's like marco says himself: the extent of what they know about him is that he has a cat named megadeth and a snake named spawn. and his dad is NSA. the crow thing is a bit sus but 13 year old boys kill animals for reasons much less solid than, say, practicing to use a morph in battle while also working out frustration about his entire life being destroyed. which is, as far as we know, what david was doing. do they think tobias hasn't killed birds he considers a bit shifty, for no reason other than to clear his territory? because if so they really haven't been paying enough attention to mr. strong-opinions-about-birds

yes, david was kind of a dick to marco at the beginning. so what? marco isn't exactly mr. smooth himself.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


It's a cobra, mind, not a snake. I'd find that a bit off-putting as well, tbh.

WrightOfWay
Jul 24, 2010




I don't think they could have left David out of the mission without causing more problems. Putting aside the fact that this was supposed to just be a recon mission, leaving David behind would only serve to further drive a wedge between him and the other Animorphs. As much as they could explain that he doesn't have enough experience to participate in such an important mission, he's just a 13 year old kid, he's going to resent being left out by the group. Things are shaky enough between him and the others as is, piling more stuff on him is just going to make things much worse.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Animorphs-Book 20-The Discovery, Chapter 25

quote:

He opened his mostly human mouth to scream. It wasn’t much of a scream because his lungs were almost gone. But it was enough.

A loud Hork-Bajir voice yelled, “Hitnef shellah. Shellah! No sound!”

Everything got very quiet. And then it was easy to hear when David screamed a second time.

“Ahhhh! Ahhhh! Ahhh!”

<Shut up, you moron!> I yelled.

<David, calm down, it’s okay,> Cassie said, being somewhat more gentle than me.

“Haff Visser!” the Hork-Bajir voice said.

I didn’t need a Hork-Bajir-to-English dictionary to figure that out. It meant “Get the Visser.”

<We need to get outta here!> Jake said. <David. DAVID! Listen to me. Get a grip. Do it now. You can be hysterical some other time.>

That seemed to penetrate David’s consciousness. He stopped screaming. But he began demorphing. He was getting more human.

<David,> Cassie said. <Listen to me. You are going to die if you don’t get a grip. Finish morphing the cockroach. It’s the only way.>

<No way!>

<Do it, David,> she said. <I know it’s creepy, but it’s better than being dead. Besides, we’ve all done it. Marco has done it. He’s not screaming like a baby, is he? Aren’t you as tough as Marco?>

I’d never seen this exact side of Cassie. She’s always good at understanding people. It hadn’t occurred to me she’d be good at manipulating people if she had to.

<You know what Marco did the first time he morphed a roach?> Cassie continued. <Just what you’re doing. He freaked. But he maintained. It’s okay that you freaked. But you have to maintain now.>I watched, and slowly, slowly David melted toward full cockroach.

Of course, now he’d really hate me. Cassie had used the tension between me and David to manipulate him. It was the right thing to do. Necessary, if we were going to live. But it was ruthless in a way, too.

Not that I had time to worry about that.

Because now the helicopter was coming up off the floor. The Yeerks were using a magnetic field to lift it and see what was underneath.

<If he can do it, I can do it,> David said at last.

I should have kept my mouth shut. But I guess I wouldn’t be me if I always did the sensible thing.

So I said, <When you’ve kicked half the Yeerk butt I’ve kicked, then you can talk, New-boy.>

See? Stupid. Now I’d just confirmed that David would hate me.

<Motor on outta here!> Jake yelled as the “sky” above us grew lighter. It was the helicopter rising, rising slowly up.

We hauled like only a cockroach can haul: six legs scampering madly, like Wile E. Coyote loading up to chase Roadrunner.

Zoom! Off across the steel deck.

Zoom! Over a seam in the floor that was maybe an eighth of an inch but seemed like a wide ditch.

Zoom! My little compound eyes millimeters above the ground, my antennae waving, streaming out behind me.

Zoom! We were Vipers on the interstate! We were Porsches on the autobahn! We were like those crazy rocket cars out on the salt flats. We were moving at full, screaming, cockroach speed.

Which, unfortunately, is about walking speed for an average adult human.

<Step on them!> Visser Three cried triumphantly. <Crush them!>

But we had one other skill, in addition to looking disgusting: We were agile little bugs. Ever try and step on a roach going full out? Ever try and step on a roach armed with full human intelligence?

It isn’t easy.

WHOOOOOOOSH! Down came something so big it blocked out the sky.

I stalled the legs on my left, motored the legs on my right, and did a Bat-turn that would have left the Batmobile skidding.

BOOOOOMMMMM! A Hork-Bajir clawed foot the size of Arkansas landed behind me. Hah!

Too slow.

Too slow by about three millimeters. Next one might get me.

Then …

<Opening up ahead here!> Jake yelled.

Opening to where? I didn’t care. I saw a dark, horizontal band stretching forever to my left and almost forever to my right. It was just a seam between one level of steel and another, but it was taller than a quarter was thick, and that’s all I needed.

WHOOOOOSH!

BOOOOOMMM!

<Ahhh!> Suddenly I was running on five legs. One had been yanked out by the roots as the Hork- Bajir toe landed on it. The roach didn’t care. It creeped me out, but the roach was indifferent.

We were in a two-dimensional universe. Below us, steel. Above us, pressing down on our backs, steel. We could go forward/back, and left/right. That was it. We were an Etch-A-Sketch drawing.

<Light ahead,> Ax reported.

We went for the light. But overhead was a pounding thunderstorm like nothing you’ve ever imagined. Dozens of humongous Hork-Bajir running above us, their massive impacts translating down through the steel. We might as well have been running around inside a drum.

BOOOM!BOOOM!BOOOM!BOOOM!

<See, isn’t this fun, David?> I said, trying out a little humor. <Ah, yes, life as an Animorph. It’s not a job. It’s an adventure!>

All the while, the dim light ahead grew brighter. And suddenly, the pounding footsteps above us died off. We had passed beneath some kind of wall. Bulkhead, I guess it’s called on a ship. Anyway,

the thunder was behind us, the light ahead of us, and I was starting to experience a tiny ray of hope amidst the gibbering terror.

Say one thing for roaches: They don’t wear out.

HSSSSSSSSSS.

<What’s that sound?> David asked.

My whole body could feel that the hissing was behind us. And my antennae were already getting a sick, quivering feeling that they smelled something unpleasant.

I stopped. Spun toward my two-legged side and looked back. Through compound eyes I basically saw nothing. Nothing but a narrowness, a horizontal narrowness. And yet … something was coming nearer. I could feel it.

Something that smelled.

Something that …

<RAID!> I screamed. <They’re gassing us!>

It kills bugs dead. Also, good job Cassie back there with the manipulation, honestly.

Chapter 26

quote:

<The light!> Ax yelled. <Go to the light!>

<If that gas reaches us we’ll not only go to the light, we’ll be saying “hello” to all our dead relatives and explaining our impure thoughts to Saint Peter!> I cried.

<What?> Ax asked, puzzled.

<Just RUUUUUN!>

The gas. The light. The gas. The light.

A pole, heading upward into the light.

Zoooom! A roach shot up the pole.

Zoooom! Zoooom! Zooom!

And then me. The little roach brain, which wasn’t bright enough to add two plus two, was a world-class expert at running away. I jumped, went vertical, hit that pole, and up I went. Zoooom!

The gas wave rolled by beneath me. I hauled straight up. Out into the light.

<Yeeeee-haaahhh!> I screamed in total, idiot glee at having survived. <Rachel is going to be somad she missed this.>

We were in a very bright room. Steel floor all around, but just one distant pair of Hork-Bajirlegs. And then, over my head I saw it: the Leaning Tower of Wing Tip. A gigantic shoe, cocked at an angle, totally still. It seemed so tall it was like it disappeared into the clouds. It may well have been a size thirteen.

More important, my weird-colored, fragmented, crazy, fun-house eyeballs managed to notice that the heel had a gouge in it.

<Slash-shoe man!> I said.

<Who?> Cassie asked.

<The President of the United States!> I said. <I’ve always wanted to meet him. But somehow I wasn’t imagining this particular scene. I thought we’d shake hands. And I figured I’d have hands.>

The sound of approaching steps. Strange steps.

<Something with four legs,> Ax said ominously.

That meant only one person.

<Hide!> Jake said.

<Where?> I wondered.

<Up his leg!> Cassie cried.

We climbed the leg of the President. Up over the polished shoe. Up across the sock. Up to the leghair. And we cowered there beneath gray wool amidst a sparse forest of leg hairs.

Clip-clop. Clip-clop.

Hooves walked into the room.

Visser Three.

<We’re out of time,> the Visser muttered to the Hork-Bajir guard. <Insects were discovered beneath the helicopter. The Andalite bandits in morph? Or just insects? Either way, no time left. I’ll acquire him now.>

Visser Three is paranoid, sure, but from his perspective, it does make sense. You never know if an animal you see is just an animal or really one of the Animorphs, so you sort of have to assume they all are.

quote:

<Acquire?> I echoed in my mind. <Huh?>

Then it occurred to me. Slash-shoe wasn’t going to be infested. Visser Three was acquiring his DNA. He wanted to be able to morph the President! Of course! How could I have been so stupid? Like Visser Three would ever let another Yeerk take control of the most powerful human on Earth?

He was going to acquire him. Then he could become the President whenever he wanted.

Suddenly, we were moving. The Hork-Bajir was dragging Slash-shoe along the deck.

<Now what?> David asked.

<Good question,> Cassie muttered.

Slash-shoe wasn’t being dragged far.

<They’re putting him back on the helicopter,> Ax said. <I believe they intend to return the helicopter to its original flight plan, replacing the hologram. They’ll reverse the stun effect and all the humans on board will wake up, remembering nothing. It will be as if nothing happened.>

<I agree,> Jake said.

<Do we stay with the hairy leg here, or do we bail and maybe do some damage here on the Blade ship?> I asked.

<Bail,> Jake said. <We can’t just demorph in the President’s helicopter. The President won’t be alone. And even if he’s straight, others may not be. There could be a shoot-out.>

<So?> David said boldly. <I thought we were supposed to kick butt?>

<Not on our own President, duh,> I said.

We bailed. Down the hairy leg. Across the sock. Down the back of the shoe to drop onto the steel deck.

<Back where we started from,> Cassie remarked. <Under the helicopter.> It took about three seconds for us all to form a mental picture of what that meant. We were standing on the hatch. The hatch that would be opened to release the helicopter.

<Uh-oh,> I said, and then, the hatch began to move beneath us. Directly beneath us. A bright line of daylight appeared in the floor not an inch away.

I turned to run.

The line widened.

And that’s when I realized that not even a roach can outrun the wind.

The wind reached in, plucked me up, swept me into the escaping air, and sucked me down through the widening crack in the floor.

<Nooooo!> I yelled.

I saw two roaches fly past, like jets in the powerful wind.

I grabbed at the deck with my two front legs and held on. For about one millionth of a second. And then I was falling.

Falling, twirling, twisting, down, down, down toward the ground below.

To be continued …

So even though other books have referenced other books before, this is the first one to be explictly a two parter. Tomorrow, Jake will tell us how they got out of this when we read book 21, "The Threat".

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


Cassie could be an absolute monster if she didn't have a good heart.

Pwnstar
Dec 9, 2007

Who wants some waffles?



Comrade Blyatlov posted:

Cassie could be an absolute monster if she didn't have a good heart.

She totally is one, she just feels bad about it.

Shwoo
Jul 21, 2011



Visser Three is the only one who's paranoid enough about random animals potentially being enemies. It's been 20 books, and all the others Yeerks are still like "Oh, flies. Anyway,"

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Shwoo posted:

Visser Three is the only one who's paranoid enough about random animals potentially being enemies. It's been 20 books, and all the others Yeerks are still like "Oh, flies. Anyway,"

"That's weird. You usually don't see a tiger, a wolf. a gorilla, a bear, a hawk, and an Andalite hang out like that. Anyway, so back to the secret plan that Visser Three has....."

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016


It's rad that the Yeerks, masters of subterfuge and shape-stealing, are pretty clueless when it comes to guerrilla gorillas.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


Epicurius posted:

Visser Three is paranoid, sure, but from his perspective, it does make sense. You never know if an animal you see is just an animal or really one of the Animorphs, so you sort of have to assume they all are.

True in general but... probably a safe bet when you hear one of them screaming like a human first.

Anyway I've been on this dying comedy forum for more than ten years but this is the first time I'm ever going to figure out how to access it on my phone because I'm flying to Sydney for the long weekend and don't want to miss any of this, so congrats and thank you and making a thread which is Must-See-TV!

Piell
Sep 3, 2006

Grey Worm's Ken doll-like groin throbbed with the anticipatory pleasure that only a slightly warm and moist piece of lemoncake could offer



Young Orc

How is morphing the president supposed to work out at all? I don't think Visser 3 wants to spend 24 hours a day being the president and people are going to notice the "president" doing things the actual president didn't do

ANOTHER SCORCHER
Aug 12, 2018


This is all one big thing.


Piell posted:

How is morphing the president supposed to work out at all? I don't think Visser 3 wants to spend 24 hours a day being the president and people are going to notice the "president" doing things the actual president didn't do

Yeah it doesn't make any sense, while acquiring could be useful V3 should at least infest the President with someone loyal to him to run things the other 90% of the time.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016



ANOTHER SCORCHER posted:

Yeah it doesn't make any sense, while acquiring could be useful V3 should at least infest the President with someone loyal to him to run things the other 90% of the time.

Who is this mysterious person? No one is actually loyal to V3 because he treats everyone like poo poo.

GodFish
Oct 10, 2012

We're your first, last, and only line of defense. We live in secret. We exist in shadow.

And we dress in black.


I don't think a yeerk president can actually do much more to defend himself against v3 than either the real president or any yeerk under his command. What's he going to do, tell the world about the yeerk invasion? Not go back to the yeerk pool to feed so v3 can't kill him?

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012



TheGreatEvilKing posted:

Who is this mysterious person? No one is actually loyal to V3 because he treats everyone like poo poo.

I mean, there's the eventual Visser Two, but that's because Visser Two is a goddamn lunatic toady out of Dr. Strangelove.

ANOTHER SCORCHER
Aug 12, 2018


This is all one big thing.


Fair enough, I guess again we encounter the problem between V3's leadership style and the conditions under which he's working. V1's slow cultural spread plan has established the pool on the American West Coast, which means V3 can't make someone as powerful as the President into a Controller due to his inability to trust his underlings, which is exacerbated by his sociopathic management style.

Jazerus
May 24, 2011



ANOTHER SCORCHER posted:

Fair enough, I guess again we encounter the problem between V3's leadership style and the conditions under which he's working. V1's slow cultural spread plan has established the pool on the American West Coast, which means V3 can't make someone as powerful as the President into a Controller due to his inability to trust his underlings, which is exacerbated by his sociopathic management style.

while it's a tertiary source of information at best, KA & michael say in the letter-responses that were posted a few days ago that visser 3 does have some vissers under him that he trusts to work independently in other nations. since the president isn't already a controller, but one of the other heads of state is, i suspect that that leader (who is totally tony blair imo) is infested by a trusted visser. esplin might be loving crazy, but he does seem to have a few friends that he dragged with him up the yeerk hierarchy after he infested alloran.

visser 3's plan here is probably to be the president full-time; he just doesn't want to give up alloran's body, for obvious reasons. if he succeeds, then probably he would appoint a visser to oversee the california pool and deal with the andalite bandits while he fucks off to be bill clinton

Jazerus fucked around with this message at 17:22 on Apr 21, 2021

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Jazerus posted:

while it's a tertiary source of information at best, KA & michael say in the letter-responses that were posted a few days ago that visser 3 does have some vissers under him that he trusts to work independently in other nations. since the president isn't already a controller, but one of the other heads of state is, i suspect that that leader (who is totally tony blair imo) is infested by a trusted visser. esplin might be loving crazy, but he does seem to have a few friends that he dragged with him up the yeerk hierarchy after he infested alloran.

Can't micromanage an invasion of a planet that closely, I guess. Even if everybody hates him as a boss, everybody's got work to do, even if you're the Visser assigned to take over Antarctica.

"We've finished infiltrating the research stations. What now, Visser Twelve?"
"Umm....well, this paper says McMurdo is looking for pollen in ice cores to study paleoclimatology and Escudero is studying bacteria along the coastal ice shelf, so I guess we keep on doing that?"
"Visser, sometimes it feels like Visser Three isn't paying any attention to our part of the conquest at all....like we're an afterthought."
"I know, Subvisser Fifty-Six. I know. I'm sure he just has other things on his mind. Now, back to those cores!"

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Epicurius posted:

Can't micromanage an invasion of a planet that closely, I guess. Even if everybody hates him as a boss, everybody's got work to do, even if you're the Visser assigned to take over Antarctica.

"We've finished infiltrating the research stations. What now, Visser Twelve?"
"Umm....well, this paper says McMurdo is looking for pollen in ice cores to study paleoclimatology and Escudero is studying bacteria along the coastal ice shelf, so I guess we keep on doing that?"
"Visser, sometimes it feels like Visser Three isn't paying any attention to our part of the conquest at all....like we're an afterthought."
"I know, Subvisser Fifty-Six. I know. I'm sure he just has other things on his mind. Now, back to those cores!"

"Do it now or you'll spend the next six months evaluating the suitability of penguins as hosts."

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016


I don't envy the hypothetical president-infesting yeerk who has to explain why every third day on his calendar needs to be wiped forthwith. Also, you secret service guys can have a day off, you've earned it, plz go now.
V3's plan actually makes sense for once!

Cythereal posted:

"Do it now or you'll spend the next six months evaluating the suitability of penguins as hosts."

Pros: ever so stylish; at home in Pools
Cons: total waste of colour vision capabilities

lapis legit
Sep 14, 2017


Tree Bucket posted:

I don't envy the hypothetical president-infesting yeerk who has to explain why every third day on his calendar needs to be wiped forthwith. Also, you secret service guys can have a day off, you've earned it, plz go now.
V3's plan actually makes sense for once!


Pros: ever so stylish; at home in Pools
Cons: total waste of colour vision capabilities

On the other hand, every meeting or event that the president goes to need to take a break every 2 hours or less for him to demorph and remorph.

Grammarchist
Jan 28, 2013



lapis legit posted:

On the other hand, every meeting or event that the president goes to need to take a break every 2 hours or less for him to demorph and remorph.

Recent events have shown us that Visser 3 could totally get away with just posting schedules that literally say, "The President will make many calls and have many meetings" and then tweet out "Working Hard! Thank You!" and he'd probably be free for most of the day.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


To be completely fair... I don't think it would be a long-term thing. As the group rightly point out, once they have the people at the top, that's the ball game. It would be very easy to put large-scale infestation programs in place once you have the executive. And then, it's pretty much too late to stop it.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Comrade Blyatlov posted:

To be completely fair... I don't think it would be a long-term thing. As the group rightly point out, once they have the people at the top, that's the ball game. It would be very easy to put large-scale infestation programs in place once you have the executive. And then, it's pretty much too late to stop it.

"All right, Marines, as per a new executive order, we have added another step to basic training! You will take the slug from this pool! You will hold it up to your ear! You will wait! Do you understand me, maggots?"

Voice from the pool: "We understand you. Get on with it!"

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Animorphs Book 21-The Threat, Chapter 1

quote:

My name is Jake.

And I was one sorry cockroach.

<Aaaaaahhhhh!> I yelled as I twirled and fell and spun downward toward the ground far below.

Not that I could see the ground. Cockroach eyes are strictly for close-up work. And they’re not even good at that.

So I couldn’t see the ground thousands of feet below. Nor could I see Marco, Cassie, Ax, and David, also cockroaches and also falling through the air.

I could hear them, though.

<Aaaaaahhhhh!> Marco yelled.

<Aaaaaahhhhh!> Cassie agreed.

Only Ax was silent. He’s an Andalite. They don’t scream quite as much as humans. It’s not that they’re braver, it’s more that they’re a telepathic species. So I guess they just didn’t evolve to do a lot of screaming.

<We’re gonna dieeee!> David yelled in thought-speak panic.

<I do not believe the impact will kill us,> Ax said. <I don’t believe our mass is sufficient to cause death when we impact.>

<He’s right!> Cassie cried. <You can’t kill a cockroach by dropping it. Not even from thishigh.>

<Unless that’s water below us,> Marco said. <In which case we could hit the water and getchomped by some big hungry fish.>

<Should we demorph?> Ax wondered.

<No time,> I said. <We’d get bigger, more mass, and then when we hit we’d ->

I stopped falling. In an instant something hit me. But it hit me going sideways. A gigantic talon closed around me.

<That is you guys, right?> Rachel’s thought-speak voice asked calmly. <I mean I figure, cockroaches falling through the air, gotta be you guys.>

<Yeah, you seldom see cockroaches at a thousand feet up,> Tobias agreed. Rachel and Tobias had not been aboard the spacecraft. The spacecraft that had kidnapped the president’s helicopter. The one we’d fallen out of. In cockroach morph.

Maybe I should back up and explain.

It all began when we discovered that the blue box - the morphing cube - had been found by a kid named David.

Well, no, actually it all began much earlier. Months ago, when Marco, Cassie, Rachel, Tobias, and I happened to be walking home from the mall by way of an abandoned construction site.

Which is where we saw the damaged spacecraft landing. And where we met Elfangor, an Andalite prince. Elfangor was dying. His enemies, the Yeerks, were hot on his trail. He was out of time.

So he did something Andalites don’t usually do: He trusted some non-Andalites. Namely, the five of us. He told us that Earth was being invaded by a race of parasites called Yeerks.

The Yeerks are slugs, really. Not very impressive-looking or scary. But they have the ability to enter a brain - almost any brain - and take control of it.

Absolute, complete, total control.

They’ve done this to the entire race of Gedds from their own home world. They’ve done it to the Hork-Bajir. They’ve done it to the Taxxons.

They are trying to do it to Homo sapiens. Humans. You and me. All of us.

Already, Elfangor said, there were thousands, maybe tens of thousands of human-Controllers.

That is to say, humans who had a Yeerk in their heads controlling their words and actions. The invasion was under way. The Andalite forces had been beaten in orbit around Earth. It might be a very long time before any more Andalite forces could come. Too long.

Basically, if someone was going to stop the Yeerks, it would have to be humans. Us. Five normal kids. Five average, everyday, mall-crawling, behind on their homework, not sure about their haircuts, awkward around members of the opposite sex, sometimes smart, sometimes dumb kids.

On the Yeerks’ side they had faster-than-light spacecraft, thousands of impossible-to-detect human-Controllers, Dracon beam weapons, and seven-foot-tall, bladed Hork-Bajir warriors. On our side we had … we had nothing.

Except.

Except that Elfangor gave us something: the power to morph. The power to become any animal we could touch. He transformed us with the blue box. And since that awful night when Prince Elfangor died at the hands of the Yeerk leader, Visser Three, we have used those powers to fight
them.

Sometimes we even win.

We found Elfangor’s younger brother, Aximili. (We call him “Ax.”) That made six of us. And that was it. Five kids and one Andalite against the might of the Yeerk Empire.

Just us six. Until …

Until David found the blue box. We assumed it had been destroyed. It hadn’t.

Now, we had it hidden. But too late to stop the trouble that followed.

David found the box and bad things started happening. Bottom line: Both his parents were taken by the Yeerks. They were infested with Yeerks. They are both Controllers now.

What could we do? We had to use the blue box to make David one of us. The sixth Animorph.

But the timing could not have been worse. We were just starting on what would be our most vital mission.

The leaders of the United States, Japan, Russia, Germany, England, and France were meeting in secret to try and work out the problems in the Middle East.

We learned that one of those leaders was in fact a Controller. And we knew that all the rest were targeted by the Yeerks.

The Yeerks were going to try to use the conference to infest the leaders of the entire free world. If we let that happen, that was the ball game. Earth was done for. We had to try and stop it.

On our way to scope out the Marriott resort where the meeting was supposed to happen, we saw a stealth-shielded Yeerk spacecraft kidnap the President’s helicopter. Or maybe it wasn’t the actual President’s helicopter. It might have been a decoy.

Confused yet? Not as confused as we were.

The Yeerks stunned everyone on the chopper and then used holographic projections to make it look like the helicopter was still flying along. They dragged someone from the helicopter. Someone with a gash in the bottom of his shoe.

Look, we were cockroaches at the time. The shoe was all we could see. We assumed the Yeerks would infest this guy. The president, or whoever it was.

But no. Visser Three merely acquired his DNA so he could morph him.

See, Visser Three is the only Yeerk in all the galaxy to have managed to take control of an Andalite body. He’s the only Yeerk who can morph.
Now he could morph Mr. Slashed Shoe. Whoever he was. Sigh.

Do you see why my grade point average has dropped? I have to deal with this kind of stuff. It’s enough to make your head explode.[/quote[

There's your Chapter 1 summary of everything that's happened so far. We haven't gotten that a lot lately. But I guess combining the metaplot with a summary of the last book, KAA figured it deserved attention.

[quote]But at least we didn’t splat or end up as fish food. Tobias and Rachel snagged us out of thin air and carried us to safety. Now all we had to do was deal with our possibly strange new Animorph, David, while finding a way to save the leaders of the free world. And not get killed.

<Something’s bothering me,> Marco said as Tobias and Rachel set us safely down in a secluded area between sand dunes.

<What’s bothering you?> I said.

<Well, I’m in a cockroach body, just fell out of the bottom of a spaceship belonging to brainstealing alien slugs while trying to save the president of the United States, was rescued by a girl who’s temporarily a bald eagle and a guy who’s permanently a red-tailed hawk … and yet, it all seems normal somehow. Like, okay, that’s just to be expected. It’s finally happened, hasn’t it?>

<What’s finally happened?> I asked.

<I’ve gone insane,> Marco said. <Deedly deeedty deedly looopy! Nutso. Insane in the membrane.>

<Yeah, well, keep it together,> I said, trying to sound like the leader I supposedly am. <The entire human race depends on us winning this battle.>

<Poor human race,> Marco said.

It was a joke. Just not a very funny one.

True, though.

Chapter 2

quote:

We demorphed in the dunes. Five of us had no problems. One of us had a serious problem.

“Rachel, Cassie. Look the other way,” I said.

David was the new Animorph. He had not yet learned how to morph clothing. Actually, none of us could morph it very well. We could only morph skintight clothing that ended up being a kind of mishmash of bike shorts, leotards, and T-shirts.

Basically, in our morphing outfits we looked pathetic. But not as pathetic as poor David.

<I’ll take care of it,> Tobias said. He flapped away, catching the salt-heavy breeze off the water and soaring up and out of sight beyond the dunes.

Tobias was still a hawk. Tobias may always be a hawk. He spent more than two hours in the morph and was trapped in it. Now he has regained his morphing powers. But he cannot return to being permanently human without losing his ability to morph.

<I do not understand humans and their strange beliefs when it comes to clothing,> Ax said. He was in his own Andalite form. His four hooves sank deep in the sand. Tobias would let us know if anyone was coming close enough to see Ax.

<You wear artificial skin and artificial hooves. When it is cold that makes sense. But when it is warm it seems strange. And you get so concerned when some article of clothing is missing or worn in the wrong way.>

“You mean like that time you wore socks on your hands?” Marco asked him.

“Or the time you wore underwear on the outside of your pants?” Rachel added, still discreetly turned away.

“You know, maybe this is funny to you guys,” David said. “But it’s not all that funny to me. What if someone came along?”

I laughed. “Well, David, if they did, I think they’d probably notice the four-eyed, scorpion tailed, blue, half-deer-looking alien before they worried about you.”

Just then Tobias swept in on the breeze, turned, dropped toward us, and let loose of a pair of swim trunks. Orange. And a T-shirt bearing a Grateful Dead logo. Both had price tags still attached.

David snagged them before they hit the ground.

<Remind me we have to return those to the Kahuna Beach Shop,> Tobias said.

“You stole them?” Cassie asked.

<No, I borrowed them. Besides, I’m a bird. Birds are not capable of stealing. What are they going to do, arrest me?>

“We’ll find a way to get the money to the store,” I said. “We don’t want to even start down that path. In an emergency like this, maybe we can grab something. But we have to make it right later. That’s the rule.”

David dressed quickly and Cassie and Rachel were allowed to turn around. “About time,” Rachel muttered. “I’ve been staring at a dead sand crab.”

“You know, it would be amazing,” David said.

“What would be?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Us, with our powers? We could take anything we wanted. We could like morphinto cheetahs or whatever, run into some jewelry store, grab the diamonds, and get away at sixty miles an hour. What could anyone do? We’d be outta there. Plus, we’d morph back to humans.”

“Let’s do that,” Marco said dryly. “Right after we figure out how to keep the Yeerks from turning the most powerful leaders in the world into alien-infested zombies. As soon as we’re done with that, we start ripping off jewelry stores.”

“Hey, I was just kidding,” David said. “I guess I forgot you’re the only one allowed to makejokes, Marco.”

I glanced at Marco. Was he mad at the shot? Yes, a little. I looked at David. He had been kidding, right?

Later I’d have to talk to Cassie about it. Cassie was a lot better at knowing what people were thinking and feeling than I was. She’d know. Hopefully.

In the meantime, I had to remember to treat David like any other member of the group. It wasn’tso bad that David and Marco didn’t totally get along. There were times when we all got on one another’s nerves. It was natural.

“Okay, time to get serious here,” I said. “They caught us by surprise. Maybe they know that was us scurrying around up there, maybe they don’t. But one way or the other, we have to get inside that resort and get busy.”

“We have to get past the greatest security in the world just to get into that place,” Rachel said.

“We have to go by air. But we can’t use bird-of-prey morphs. That’d be slightly noticeable.”

“No problem,” Cassie said. “It’s the beach. There’s one kind of bird no one can keep off the beach. Seagulls.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t have a seagull morph,” David pointed out. “But I’ll bet I could morph back into golden eagle morph and bring one down.”

I winced a little at his eagerness. The basic idea was sound. Only there was no need to have David morph again. “Tobias?” I yelled up to him. He was riding the breeze, almost stationary above us. He spilled air and dropped down closer. “Sorry to keep sending you out for things, but can you get
a seagull?”

“Alive?” Cassie added.

<Can I grab a gull? Puh-leeze. Can Michael Jordan hit a three-pointer? They’re just rats with wings.>

“Tobias is like really into the whole bird thing, isn’t he?” David commented.

“Tobias just has some fairly definite opinions about birds,” I said. “He respects most eagles, owls, and other hawks. Looks down on gulls and pigeons. And he absolutely hates jays, crows, and golden eagles.”

David laughed. “He’s like a racist or something, only with birds instead of people.”

“All those birds are different species,” Cassie pointed out. “Humans are all one species. Not really a very good comparison.”

David shrugged, and looked a little sullen. “Whatever.”

I started to say something, then stopped myself. I was feeling edgy and strange. We were about to try to violate a resort with security that would make Fort Knox look like a Wal-Mart during a clearance sale. We were up against security from France, Britain, Japan, Germany, Russia, and the United States. Plus, we were competing against the Yeerks, who had already infiltrated the place to some extent.

And I was going in with no plan, no clue, and a new guy I wasn’t totally used to yet. How would this guy do in a battle? How would he do when it got really rough? He’d done okay when we were roaches being chased around. He hadn’t panicked. But things could get worse. They could get way
worse.

I noticed Cassie looking at me, reading the worry on my face. I looked up at the sky like I was searching for Tobias. When I lowered my face again I had on my “fearless leader” expression. No point in making everyone else nervous, too.

Tobias actually did appear just then, carrying a squirming, kicking, flapping, very, very annoyed seagull in his talons.

<That was actually fun,> Tobias said with a laugh. <Snatched him out of midair while he was diving on some guy’s sandwich. And, as much as I so did not want to, I acquired the gull. David’s not the only one without a gull morph.>

Cassie took the poor gull from Tobias and comforted it. Cassie handles lots of animals. She brought it to David.

“I’m starting to get this down,” David said, pressing one hand against the gull’s wing. “Just focus and his DNA is mine.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “Easy after a while. So let’s do it. We morph to gulls, we skim on down the beach, and land in the resort. See what we see.”

“One big point,” Cassie said. “Act like gulls, okay? The humans won’t be looking for trouble from seagulls. But the Yeerks will.”

I'm getting a feeling of impending doom here. Also, Jake's still doing the whole "fearless leader" thing.

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012



This and the internet book were the first two Animorphs books I ever read, picking both up at the same time when I was in elementary school.

It's kinda weird in retrospect to think that I branched out from the weird internet one and the middle of a trilogy to ravenously devouring the entire series.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


Jake, when you have doubts about someone like this, learn to trust them.

WrightOfWay
Jul 24, 2010




I've actually never read this one. I read the first and last David book, but not the middle one. I'm curious exactly how things turn out the way they do.

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016


gourdcaptain posted:

This and the internet book were the first two Animorphs books I ever read, picking both up at the same time when I was in elementary school.

It's kinda weird in retrospect to think that I branched out from the weird internet one and the middle of a trilogy to ravenously devouring the entire series.

That's interesting; I always thought the standard "hi I'm Jake we're the animorphs yeerks are a thing" intros were pretty pointless this far into the series. But it looks like people were picking them up that far in!
Must've been insanely confusing.

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freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


Kids will just pick up whatever, whenever, I think. Especially if you're just relying on whatever happens to be available at the library or the Scholastic book fair.

Anyway, this chapter does a real good job of making David say stuff which isn't wrong or incorrect, per se, but is just... off.

quote:

I started to say something, then stopped myself.

Compare and contrast to Marco irritably saying something provocative in the last book (about ten minutes ago) even though he knows it's a bad idea. This book is the middle act of a plot-driven trilogy, but it's also a really strong Jake book.

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