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Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

Epicurius posted:

Also, even for the Animorphs, this has been a pretty traumatic adventure so far, have you noticed?

"The people areTrauma is the sea in which the revolutionary swims"


Apr 10, 2010

College Slice

Animorphs Book 21-The Threat, Chapter 15


“Inside a hologram?” David echoed.

“See the pillars in each corner? There should be a pillar here, right where we’re standing. There isn’t. Instead there’s this mini Yeerk pool. And … and that thing.”

I pointed at a device that looked like a large, blunt-nosed Dracon beam. It was mounted on the small table where Marco and I had demorphed.

<Interesting,> Ax commented. <It’s a holographic emitter. But it’s only a relay. Not the basic emitter. Not what is causing this hologram we’re in.>

I looked around, trying to make sense of it. We were apparently standing inside a massive marble pillar roughly ten feet in diameter. Behind us there was a raised platform. Not quite a stage, just a platform, with the very familiar podium the President uses. You know - the one with the big, blue presidential seal on the front.

I glanced at Rachel. She was getting very large. Too large for the confined space. “Rachel? Sorry, I changed my mind. Demorph.”

<Are you sure? There could still be a fight,> she said, sounding almost hopeful.

I looked up at the ceiling. Between the hanging chandeliers were stained-glass skylights. I could see daylight. I looked back up at the air-conditioning vent we’d come through. The pillar hugged the wall to within three feet on that side, and the air-conditioning duct actually bulged out so that the vent itself was just inches from the “column.” The hologram must have been weaker up there, where it was less vital.

“What happens if someone happens to lean on this column or pillar or whatever it is?” David wondered. “They’d have to be using a force field, too, not just a hologram.”

Ax nodded in agreement. <Yes. Here is what I believe is happening. The Yeerks precisely targeted a Dracon beam from a cloaked ship overhead. They burned down through the roof and through the column, precisely wiping it out. Then they aimed a holographic emitter of enormous power down through the hole to replace the pillar they had vaporized. A hologram strengthened by a force field. The force field directs its force outward, of course. We can step out of this hologram at any time. But we would not be able to step back in.>

“So why doesn’t the roof fall down?” Marco wondered.

“Maybe the pillars are just for decoration,” David suggested. “They probably don’t really support the roof. They’re just here to look cool.”

“So what’s the point?” I mused aloud. “The force field is in place. How do the Controllers get in here?”

Ax pointed at a sort of arch made of nothing but thick wire. It formed an invisible door, if you can envision that. <My guess is that this arch blocks the force field. There must be some kind of control device in here. They would simply blank the force field whenever they needed to enter the column.>

Ax shuffled with difficulty through the press of bodies over to a small computer console on theYeerk pool. He stared at it for a few moments, then pressed a button. Nothing changed.

I stepped out, right through what would have looked like solid marble from the outside. Then I turned and pressed my hand against blank, cold marble. I worked my way sideways to find the arch. Suddenly my hand disappeared into solid marble.

“It’s open,” I said. I stepped back through to be sure. “Very weird. The force field may be off, but the hologram is still totally real. You’d swear you’re walking through solid marble.”

I stepped outside once more. Once again the mini Yeerk pool and all my friends disappeared behind me. I was standing beside a massive, pink marble column.

No one entering the room would suspect for a minute that there was anything different about this column.

“I’m telling you how I want it!” a voice said.

I dove. No questions asked. I dove beneath the nearest table and rolled out of sight. A white tablecloth hung all around me.

I saw three pairs of legs approaching. Two male, one female. I cursed myself bitterly for getting careless. Of course people would be coming and going in the ballroom.

It was weird. I felt alone and cut off. Yet I knew that most of my friends were standing just a few feet away. Inside what appeared to be a marble column.

“I want the main table further back, closer to the podium,” one of the men was saying.

“But how do POTUS and the other HOS’s get from the table to the podium?” the woman asked.

I had heard the term “POTUS.” It stood for President Of The United States. But what was a HOS? Head of State?

“The President and the other heads of state will rise from their seats and travel down along the table, past the photogs, and around the back of the pillar. Then up onto the podium.”

“Tony, that doesn’t make sense,” the other man said.

Suddenly three chairs were yanked out all around me! Legs were coming at me! Two bare, female legs and four covered in gray, pinstriped suit pants.

The three of them were sitting down.

“Urgh!” I emitted a muffled sound as someone’s shoe poked my side.

“Don’t tell me what makes sense. I’ve spent weeks working this all out,” the man named Tony said.

“If so, then why did you tell us something totally different this morning?” the woman asked.

“You must have misunderstood what I said this morning,” Tony said coolly.

“I don’t see how.”

“Look, Sheila, let me make this simple for you: I am the White House Chief of Protocol. This is my show. Who sits where is my business. Your business is to make it happen.”

Suddenly, I had a feeling I knew something about Tony the others didn’t. I squirmed carefully around, avoiding the various poking feet. I needed to see the bottom of Tony’s shoe.

“Tony, you don’t have to get -” the other man started to say.

“Look, just do it,” Tony said.

“Well, okay, but there will be no time to change your mind again before the banquet,” Sheila said, sounding huffy. “You know the Secret Service detail insists on knowing all the specifics well in advance.”

“I won’t change my mind. POTUS and the others will approach the stage from behind that column. That’s final.”

They stood up. And at just that moment I saw what I’d known I would: a slash on the bottom of Tony’s shoe.

I almost laughed. I waited till the coast was clear and crawled back to the column.

Inside, Ax said, <Prince Jake, I believe we may have a way out of here. The hologram and the force field seem to be weaker higher up the column.>

“That would make sense,” I said. “They need it reinforced down low in the strong light, down where people might touch it. That’s how I was able to see through the illusion when I passed by in dragonfly morph.”

<Yes. I think we could escape by going straight up. Straight through the roof.>

I looked up, out at the sky overhead, and saw a circle of blue that looked awfully inviting.

“Fine. Let’s get out of here,” I said.

But Ax hesitated. He turned his stalk eyes meaningfully toward the stainless steel tub. <The Yeerks are probably already in place. Do we … do we leave them?>

I knew what he was suggesting. It would be easy to finish them off right there and then. But if we did, the Yeerks might simply be able to replace them. And they’d be warned that we knew their plan.

Besides, there was something wrong about killing defenseless slugs. I was pretty sure of that. I shook my head. “Let’s fly.”

Some decisions are smart. Some are dumb. Some manage to be a little of both. This was one of those.

So, we know who Visser Three has morphed. And making decisions that are both smart and dumb are the story of my life.

Chapter 16


<Tobias! Are you able to hear us?> Ax called in thought-speak.

No answer. I wasn’t surprised. Tobias was probably too far off to “hear.” We were all going back to seagull morph. But if we flew straight up we would probably emerge from the middle of the roof. It would look as if we’d simply popped up out of the roof. The roof that was being watched by a dozen security guys - and probably the bald man.

We needed a distraction.

“The fire alarm,” David said. “I did it once at my old school to get out of taking a test.”

He pointed at the small red lever on a nearby wall.

“Okay,” I said. “Good idea.”

“I’ll do it,” David volunteered.

“Everyone start to morph to seagull. David? You have to throw it and come running straight back.”

“No duh.”

“Okay. Ready? Go!”

We morphed. David ran. He reached the switch, yanked it down.


David came racing back.

Wham! His foot caught on a chair leg and he sprawled, hitting the ground. A split second later, the door of the ballroom burst open. Four armed men came running in, guns drawn.

In a flash I realized my mistake. Yes, the fire alarm would distract the regular guards. But the Controllers would hear the alarm, too, and come rushing straight here - straight to their concealed Yeerk pool.

David rolled under a table, out of sight.

Instant decision time. “Everyone finish morphing and get out of here! Now! I’ll get David.”

“But -” Rachel said.

“Not now, Rachel,” I said through gritted teeth. “Close the archway behind me. David and I will find another way out.” I dropped to my knees and crawled out of the pillar. I was out of sight of the advancing Controllers as I made my way under the table. But peering down the long line of chair legs,

I saw David.

Only David wasn’t David anymore.

Cassie had helped him to acquire a combat morph. He’d chosen a male lion. As I watched, I saw the bushy mane sprout from around his neck.

I mouthed the word “no” silently. We needed to escape, not fight. But David just grinned. He was still grinning as three-inch-long yellow canine teeth grew from his suddenly puffy upper lip.

“Bar the door!” one of the Controllers ordered. “Push a couple of tables up against it. I’ll use the secure link to contact our people. We can’t have any of the other security forces barging in here.”

I saw feet moving. I heard a table being shoved across the carpet to block the main door.

“Okay, if we have Andalite penetration, they could be anything. Even flies. It’s probably just a false alarm. Nothing to do with us. We’ll know as soon as we check the pool. If it was Andalites… . Well, our friends in the pool will not be alive.”

I breathed a small sigh of relief. We’d left the Yeerks in the pool alone. If I could keep David from doing anything crazy, we’d get out of this okay. The Controllers just had to check the concealed Yeerk pool and see that their brothers were alive.

I began to crawl, with infinite caution, toward David. He was maybe thirty feet away, his face concealed by the gloom and the chair legs, and by the fact that his face was changing rapidly.

I kept shaking my head “no.” I kept silently mouthing the word “no.” I was trying to will him to understand me. But he kept morphing. A long, bushy-tipped tail now extended out from beneath the table.

Legs walked past, almost stepping on the tail. “Turn off the hologram,” the first voice ordered. I looked back over my shoulder. The marble pillar was there. Then it was gone. Replaced by the stainless steel tank, the narrow table, and the strange-looking “emitter.”

Two sets of legs went to the Yeerk pool. I heard a hinge being moved. “They’re okay!” a new voice yelled.

“Okay,” the leader said, sighing in relief. “No way we have Andalite penetration then. They’d never leave our people alive. Clear the doors. I’ll notify the others. Hologram on.”

The pillar reappeared.

David was now a full-grown lion. He was twitching his tail. But it had twitched back out of sight.

I was no more than ten feet away from him. All he had to do was stay still. All he had to do…

Legs passed by. David turned his massive head. I saw his hindquarters bunch up, ready for the attack.

I crawled forward as fast as I could, and, in the split second before he would have leaped, I grabbed his mane with my right hand.

Now, let me pause to explain that just because I turn into animals all the time doesn’t mean I’ve lost any respect for them. You see all these lions on TV, in movies, in commercials or whatever, and they’re often tame and kind of sweet. Or you see them lying around with their paws in the air, sleeping in the shade on the savanna.

But you need to realize something. The reason lions have lots of time to sleep is that they are very, very effective killers. They don’t need to expend a lot of energy, because as long as there is prey, they’ll eat just fine.

I grabbed the lion’s mane. About a millisecond later it occurred to me that this was David’s first time in lion morph. And he might not have control of it.

Which meant I might not have an arm for much longer. “David,” I hissed in a voiceless whisper. “Don’t. Do. Anything.”

He stared at me with golden-brown eyes. And slowly, deliberately, he drew back his muzzle to reveal his teeth.

“Okay, let’s go,” the lead Controller said. “Nothing here.”

The doors opened. I saw feet walking away.

I was still holding a handful of mane. My face was inches away from David’s mouth. And my mind went immediately to the fact that one of the ways a lion kills is by simply crushing the skull of its prey.

Crushing the skull with its jaws till it pops open like a dropped cantaloupe.

<Had you worried, huh?> David said.

“No. I knew you were cool.”

<Just being prepared. You know, in case there was any trouble. I was surprised you didn’t go into your tiger morph.>

“Yeah. Well, I didn’t see the need.”

<Hey. You ever wonder who’d win in a fight between a lion and a tiger?>

That took me by surprise. I hesitated.

<Lion. That’s what I think. But it would probably never happen,> David said with a laugh. <It’s just interesting to think about. I better demorph.>

Once he was human again, I said, “I think the best way out of here now is the same way we came in.” I crawled out from under the table and stood up. “Just one difference. We don’t have time to waste having you leaping around in flea morph trying to land on me.”

“So what are we going to do?”

“David, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but bite me.”


“Bite me on the back. We’ll morph together. Hopefully when your flea mouthparts replace your human teeth, you’ll remain latched on.”

“Yeah, and hopefully I don’t do like Marco and end up a two-foot-tall flea before I shrink,” he said. “That might hurt you just a bit.”

The idea worked. And we zoomed madly through the air-conditioning vents till we happened to spot sunlight. There was an outside vent, after all. It had just been well-camouflaged by stonework.

We zipped outside and Tobias snagged us out of midair. We flew home with me mulling the strangeness of David’s question.

Who would win a fight between a lion and a tiger? And why did I suddenly care about the answer?

So, I'm just going to say this is a question that's been debated a awful lot. Personally, on a one to one fight, I'd give it to the tiger..they're both bigger and stronger.

Jul 24, 2010

Lions also live and hunt in groups so I would definitely go with the more solitary tiger in a one on one fight. Two lions could probably take two tigers for the same reason, though.

Mar 9, 2014

A tiger could probably take a lion, but a grizzly definitely would, just too bad Rachel owns the copyrights. Does anyone have a hippo, or is that still up for grabs?

Bibliotechno Music
Dec 29, 2008

I think the more interesting question would be bug morphs. Termites v ants v bees? Cockroaches v dung beetles? One dragonfly v an equivalent volume of mosquitoes?

e X
Feb 23, 2013

cool but crude

Hey, no war crimes this time

Jul 7, 2009


Right up until the point where David morphed lion he was actually being a very good, solid Animorph. Making smart observations about the hologram, volunteering for a risky detail, smart enough to roll under the table after tripping over, etc. If it was me I would have flipped out in the air duct and demorphed and crushed myself.


We were apparently standing inside a massive marble pillar roughly ten feet in diameter.

Ten feet?! Three metres?! That's loving enormous. Where would you ever see a marble pillar that wide?

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


freebooter posted:

Ten feet?! Three metres?! That's loving enormous. Where would you ever see a marble pillar that wide?

At the Hagia Sophia, apparently. (Plus porphyry, which is much rarer and the hardest substance known to the Romans, and the Egyptian quarry where the porphyry was mined still contains some giant failed columns from that era.)

Also some monumental columns.

Fuschia tude fucked around with this message at 09:39 on Apr 29, 2021

Aug 12, 2018

This is all one big thing.

Given that Cassie just blew up because her fangs were in Jake while he demorphed, doing the exact same plan in reverse with David seems foolish but I'm glad it worked out.

Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies


Given that Cassie just blew up because her fangs were in Jake while he demorphed, doing the exact same plan in reverse with David seems foolish but I'm glad it worked out.

"Oh no David exploded for some reason. Oh well, let's never mention him again"

Sep 28, 2008

by reading this post you have agreed to form a gay socialist micronation.

Crespolini posted:

A tiger could probably take a lion, but a grizzly definitely would, just too bad Rachel owns the copyrights. Does anyone have a hippo, or is that still up for grabs?

I always thought hippo or rhino would be my chosen battle morphs. I'm a big dude already and I feel like the hippo's awwww factor to danger level would be a good mix up. Would be great as a secondary battle morph for Cassie, although idk about the optics of having a girl who describes herself as pudgy going hippo. Always thought hyena would be cool too but that's not really a great battle morph outside one on one.

I gotta say I don't know what other massive battle morphs are really left now that David's done lion and Rachel was allergic to the croc. There's some ok ones we get into waay later with the auxiliary animorphs, and Im already starting to miss Ax going rattlesnake. Doesn't he begin to use a cheetah morph or something later on? I was also a little disappointed that I don't remember the polar bears from book 25 getting more use.

Apr 10, 2010

College Slice

Animorphs Book 21-The Threat, Chapter 17


We now knew the Yeerks’ plan. They would wait for the big banquet. The heads of state would walk up to the platform, one by one, to give speeches. One by one they would pass behind the holographic pillar.

There, out of sight of the audience, they would be hauled inside the pillar. They would be grabbed and held, their heads forced into the pool. A Yeerk slug would enter through their ears.

Minutes later, they would be Controllers.

Meanwhile, the holographic emitter we’d seen would project an image of the head of state continuing his walk up to the podium. He would seem to reappear on the far side of the pillar, walk up, and calmly deliver his speech.

By the time the speech was over, the real head of state would be ready to emerge. The switch would then be done in reverse.

“Tony, the White House protocol guy, is the man with the slash on his shoe,” I told the others as we gathered in the barn. “That was the whole purpose behind grabbing the helicopter. It wasn’t the President they were after right then.”

“They want a grand slam,” David said. “They want all these guys at once. So they snagged the second helicopter, the one that always accompanies Marine One to throw off possible terrorists.”

“Exactly,” I agreed. “They needed the chief of protocol, the guy who would decide how the banquet was laid out. So Visser Three acquired him. Replaced him.”

“What about the real guy? The actual chief of protocol?” Cassie asked.

“Probably still alive,” Marco offered. “Visser Three has him drugged, takes his clothes and shoes, goes out and does his stuff. Then later the real Tony wakes up and doesn’t realize anything has even happened.”

<Why not just make Tony a Controller?> Tobias asked.

“I don’t know,” I admitted.

But Ax spoke up. <The buildings where these heads of state work and live are carefully guarded? And all of the employees carefully watched?>

“You know it.”

<Then there may be a simple reason: Kandrona rays. If the President and the others are made into Controllers, they won’t be able to get away from the President’s security people long enough to secretly visit a Yeerk pool every three days for their needed Kandrona rays. So we have to assume the plan will be for the President to have a Yeerk pool and Kandrona placed within the White House itself.>

Rachel made a rude, dismissive noise. “How would they keep something like that secret?”

David supplied the answer. “Only the President could order something like that done in the White House. And even then, only if most or all of his Secret Service guys and a lot of his staff were Controllers, too.”

“The big goal is to get the President and the others,” Marco agreed. “They need to get the President under control and he’ll then make it possible for them to install a Kandrona in the White House itself. They need a Kandrona right there. They can’t have well-known White House personnel secretly running around to Yeerk pools. So they didn’t make this Tony guy a Controller because if the whole scheme fails, he’ll be stuck in Washington without access to a Kandrona.”

Cassie shook her head. “Very clever, boys, but as usual you’ve overlooked a much simpler explanation.”
“What simple explanation?” I asked.

“Ego,” Cassie said. “You have to look at who we’re talking about here. It’s Visser Three. It’s his biggest scheme ever! If it works, the battle for Earth is won. He’ll be the big hero of the whole Yeerk Empire. And if it fails, he’ll look like a fool. So what’s he going to do? Stay aboard the Blade ship and watch? Uh-uh. Not Visser Three. He wants to be there. He wants to be able to say, ‘Look, I did it all. Me, me, me!’”

I nodded. As usual, Cassie had seen what I had missed.

Cassie grinned. “Typical males,” she said airily, self-mocking. “All you think about is plot. You always forget it’s about personality. It’s about character. Visser Three has to be there, see. He’s an egomaniac.”

Marco, David, Ax, Tobias, and I all looked at one another, feeling a little disgruntled.

“I still like our explanation,” David said, speaking for all of us.

“Well, I assume this banquet is tonight,” I said, looking at my watch. “And if I’m right, we have very few hours to figure out how to bust up this plan.”

“I need to spend some time at home,” Rachel said. “You probably do, too, Jake.”

“Actually, I’m pretty free for now,” I said. “You heard about Saddler, right?”

She hadn’t. So I told her about our injured cousin. About my parents going to help out. And about the fact that Saddler was not necessarily going to survive.

Everyone made the right noises of sympathy. So did David. But while his mouth was making the right words, I saw something disturbing in his eyes. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

I glanced at him and he looked at me with a face that seemed to be shining with restrained excitement. Like someone who had just figured out how to win the lottery.

And I heard an echo of Cassie’s words in my mind: “It’s always about character.”

I sort of think both Ax and Cassie are right at the same time.

Chapter 18


I didn’t know David. I realized that now. I hadn’t really had time to get to know him. It had been one crisis piled on top of the next since we’d first learned about David finding the blue box.

I knew each of the others. Name any situation. I could tell you exactly how Cassie or Marco or Rachel or Tobias or even Ax would react. But David remained unknown. Unpredictable.

He’d been brave, mostly. He’d done what he had to do, mostly. But there had been things … the way he’d been in eagle morph and attacked some passing bird for no reason. The way he’d gotten weird in the lion morph. And the thing with breaking into the hotel room.

All totally understandable. Nothing really awful. Not given how his entire life had been ripped apart.

He seemed to get along with Cassie and Rachel and Tobias okay. He mostly ignored Ax, like he was afraid of him. Which was easy to understand. Andalites take some getting used to.

He and Marco obviously did not get along. But that was easy to understand, too. Marco is my best friend in the world. But, like Ax, he can take some getting used to.

We made our plans for the banquet that night. And after we were done, with the sun just going down, I gave Cassie a private “follow me” look. We went outside, leaving the others in the barn.

I led her a little distance away, beyond the range of Tobias’s sharp hawk hearing.

“You want to ask me about David,” Cassie said.

I think my jaw dropped open. “Okay, how did you know?”

“You’ve been watching him all afternoon like you’re trying to figure him out.”

I nodded. “Okay. So what do you think? About him?”

Cassie shrugged and looked back toward the barn. “I don’t know. I can’t seem to figure him out. He’s lost his family, his life, his home. He doesn’t seem upset enough for that, you know? I mean, sometimes he acts upset, but… I don’t know.”

“Well, that’s helpful,” I said, making a deprecating face. “You’re supposed to be the insightful one. I’m just a moron when it comes to figuring people out.”

Cassie laughed. Then she put her arm through mine. “Take one worry at a time, fearless leader.

We have the mission tonight. We have to save the world. Let’s do that, then figure out the new kid.”

“What do you think of the plan?”

Cassie rolled her eyes. “Ax says it can be done and Marco says it’s insane. I agree with both of them.”

The plan was pretty simple and straightforward. But it was ambitious, too. See, we didn’t just want to save the heads of state. We wanted to force them to confront the truth: that there were aliens among us and that we were under attack.

If we could do that, the world really would be saved.

Ax had explained the way the hologram of the pillar and its force field were created.

A ship, probably Visser Three’s Blade ship, was parked maybe ten thousand feet above the hotel. It was cloaked so it would be invisible to radar and eyesight. It had to hold its station perfectly, never wobbling. It beamed the holographic picture and the force field down through the roof of the
banquet hall.

It took enormous, unimaginable amounts of energy.

<Especially with inferior Yeerk technology,> Ax had said snidely. <Andalite technology would do it better, of course.>

“But Erek and the other Chee use holograms constantly,” Marco pointed out. “Their visible bodies are holograms.”

<Yes. Obviously in that one area, the technology the Chee possess is somewhat superior even to Andalite technology.>

“Way superior,” Marco had said, deliberately busting Ax and grinning the whole time. “Way, way superior. I mean, just so I have this straight, you’re saying the Chee technology would be to Andalite technology like human technology is to … oh, say, chimpanzees?”

That brought a laugh from everyone. All except David. David’s gaze was somewhere else. He was looking at us, but from far off. Like we were each animals at the zoo. Like he was sizing us up.

Ax got the best of Marco in the end. <Actually, the gap would have to be even wider, since there really isn’t all that much of a difference between human technology and chimpanzee technology.>

“Oooooh, score one for the Ax-man,” Rachel said.

The basic plan was simple enough. According to Ax, the beams from the Blade ship were focused to be strongest at ground level. The higher you got, the easier it would be to penetrate the beam and get inside the hologram.

From that point on, you could drop straight down to the hidden Yeerk pool.

Just a few major problems. We would have to instantly take out any Controllers who were stationed within the hologram column. And if any of us stepped outside the hologram, there would be security guys on us before we could blink.

Then we’d have to be ready to snatch the various world leaders as they were pushed toward us and convince them to play along. Despite the fact that most of them didn’t speak English.

And oh, by the way, Erek had warned us that one of the men, one of those world leaders, was already a Controller. At least one of them.

It would be a very strange game.

I haven't checked on each of the world leaders when the book was written, but I wouldn't be surprised if most of them spoke some English at least.

Sep 5, 2007

Seems like David is actually getting along with the team dynamics in first half of chapter 17. Too bad it is all downhill from there.

Sep 28, 2008

by reading this post you have agreed to form a gay socialist micronation.

I just looked up the 24th G8 conference earlier in this book lol, and it was
Jacques Chirac - France
Tony Blair - UK
Ryutaro Hashimoto - Japan
Helmut Kohl - Germany
Boris Yeltsin - Russia
and of course
Bill Clinton - USA

As well as some EU guys and Jacques Chrétien of Canada and Romano Prodi of Italy. It is the G8 after all. The real one was held in Birmingham, UK. And yeah I'm sure they almost all speak English or have a translator.

We have more information than the animorphs have at this point, but with himdsight we can assume that Hashimoto, Kohl, and Clinton are not Yeerked. (the first two were pretty clearly about to lose power - Kohl lost heavily in 1998 and Hashimoto resigned, but that's not something I'd expect a 13 year old from suburban██████████ to be able to intuit. And if Clinton was already Yeerked, why even bother grabbing his event planner? Seems like the ball game). All of this is making me agree with the up-thread post about Blair being the already Yeerked world leader. Wonder if there's an Animorphs UK or if London in this universe is just laid waste by the Yeerks.

QuickbreathFinisher fucked around with this message at 03:45 on Apr 30, 2021

Oct 12, 2012

It's Yeltsin

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007

should have picked four fingers

The alcohol counteracts the Yeerk.

e X
Feb 23, 2013

cool but crude

Have you seen Blair's smile? That's 100% an alien trying to mimic human emotion.

Jul 7, 2009


e X posted:

Have you seen Blair's smile? That's 100% an alien trying to mimic human emotion.

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

low vis

Some big Scourge of Carpathia energy there.

Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies

Apr 10, 2010

College Slice

Animorphs Book 21-The Threat, Chapter 19


<Have I mentioned that this is insane?> Marco said.

<Yeah, I think you may have,> I said.

<Have I mentioned that of all the insane things we’ve ever done, this is so insane that it makes all previous insanity seem sane?>

<I don’t think you’ve mentioned that more than, oh, nine billion times,> I said.

<Well, as long as we’re clear on the fact that this is INSANE. In. Sane.>

<Marco, shut up or I’ll squeeze harder,> Rachel said.

Here was the situation. We were all in birds-of-prey morphs. We were flying high. Too high for birds of prey at night with no thermals to lift us up. We were working at it, I can tell you that. We were flapping like idiots, fighting for every foot of altitude.

And to make things worse, we were carrying things. I was carrying a teardrop-shaped lead weight. It wasn’t all that big, maybe four ounces, but try carrying even four ounces when you’re a peregrine falcon. Falcons aren’t all that big.

Tobias, Cassie, David, and Ax were all carrying similar weights: plumb bobs, fishing weights, and even an awl. We’d found them with some old tools and fishing tackle in Cassie’s barn.

Rachel was carrying Marco.

And Marco was a snake.

In fact, he was the cobra David used to own. David’s snake had been made safe by the removal of its poison sacs. But since Marco morphed from the DNA, the surgery was irrelevant.

Marco was a fully functional cobra, with venom that could knock a horse down in seconds and kill it in minutes.

Rachel, as the largest of us with her bald eagle morph, drew the task of carrying Marco. We were high above the beach, following the surf line so we wouldn’t get lost. There was no moon. Even if there had been, we’d have never seen it because clouds - big, black, rain-soggy clouds - covered the sky.

It felt like those clouds were right on top of us. Actually, they were. As I flew, I’d pass through wisps of their lower edges.

The surf below was bright enough, though. It was a wavy, silvery line, advancing, retreating, but always pointing the way for us. Just in case we had trouble with the darkness, Cassie had gone into a great horned owl morph. Our birds-of-prey eyes were not nearly as good at night as they were in the
day. But Cassie could see the individual sand crabs scuttling around hundreds of feet below us.

Ahead and far below, the lights of the Marriott resort were blazingly bright. It was lit up like a Monday Night Football game.

We passed silently over the line of trees that marked the edge of the compound.

<Oh, wow!> Cassie said suddenly. <It’s him! Cool!>

<It’s who?> I demanded in alarm.

<The President! He’s walking from that cottage over to another cottage. Can’t you see him? He’s wearing shorts.>

<Hey, let’s go see if we can get an autograph,> David suggested, and then broke up laughing at his own joke.

<Ax-man?> Tobias asked. <Are we high enough up to be able to penetrate this force field?>

<I believe so,> Ax said. <Probably. Most likely.>

<Well, that’s reassuring.> Marco, of course.

<I will go first,> Ax said. <If I appear to run into an invisible wall and am knocked unconscious and fall toward the ground, you’ll know the force field is still too strong at this height.>

Was that Andalite humor? I could never be sure.

Ax pushed a little extra power into his harrier wings and pulled ahead. We watched him fly over the banquet hall, directly over the place where we knew the hologram/force field entered the roof.

He seemed lost for a moment, going this way and that, then …

<I am inside!> he said. <Hah! We’re only two hundred feet up! An Andalite force field would be ten times this strong at this distance from the focus point.>

He flew in a very tight circle, staying within the beam. We flew to catch up with him. There was an itchy, creepy-crawly sensation as I flew through the perimeter. Like ants covering my feathers. But then I was in. And now, looking down, I could see straight through the perfect circular hole in the
roof. It was light down there. Light enough for me to see the heads of three Controllers.

<Three of ‘em,> Rachel said. <No problem-o.>

We could see the tiny, stainless steel Yeerk pool. And we could see the human-Controllers lurking beside it.

Three heads.

Three targets.

<Ready?> I asked.

<Let’s do it!> Rachel yelled.

<I am ready, Prince Jake.>

<Definitely not,> Marco said glumly.

<Okay, I go first, then David, since we’re the fastest in a dive. Then Tobias, Cassie, Ax, and

Rachel with Marco, you come last. On the count of three. One … two …>

I spilled air from my wings, flicked my tail, and headed straight down. I flapped to build up speed and I rocketed down that tube.

The fastest thing in the air is a peregrine falcon in a dive. I broke a hundred miles per hour within seconds and kept building speed. Faster and faster, as my laser-intensity falcon eyes watched the head below me grow larger and larger.

I gripped the lead weight in my talons.

I was a dive-bomber. And I was doing well over a hundred miles per hour when I released my bomb. Now you know why we were carrying the weights.

They're gonna kill those hosts.

Chapter 20


Down, down, down like a diving fighter plane!

I released the weight, flared my wings just a hair, slowed, and swept aside as David’s own bomb dropped past me. My lead weight dropped. David’s dropped. Then, more slowly, three more weights.



The first two Controllers went down like someone had … well, like someone had dropped a very fast-moving lead weight on their heads.

I mean, they just dropped. The third guy was gaping at them when a near miss hit his shoulder.

He jerked aside, avoiding the next bomb.

But the final bomb caught him square on his head, and he fell over the other two Controllers. We all inscribed tight circles inside the beam as Rachel went blazing past, trailing Marco from her talons.

She flared and killed her speed at the last minute, then dropped expertly down through the hole.

We followed. One of the Controllers was moving, trying to roll over. Rachel released Marco.

He dropped directly onto the moving Controller and sank his fangs into the man’s leg. He delivered a very small dose of toxin. Enough, we hoped, to keep the guy down but leave him breathing. One by one, we landed.

Honestly. Didn't expect people to survive that.


It was bizarre beyond belief. We were invisible to everyone else in the banquet hall, but they were not invisible to us.

The place was jammed. Hundreds of people, men in tuxedos, women in gowns. They were sitting at the long tables, and milling around and talking, and leaning over to whisper to one another, and nibbling appetizers and sipping white wine.

And these weren’t just people. These were people of the seriously important, powerful variety.

The main table extended straight out from us. The man closest to us could have reached out and touched us. Only if he had, he’d have felt what he thought was a cool, marble column.

I noticed that one of the lead weights had bounced out of the hologram. It lay at some woman’s feet. Fortunately, no one had seen it come flying out of a seemingly solid pillar.

We were all demorphing rapidly, but I think we were all busy being a little awestruck, too.

Three places down along the table was the premier of Russia. Down from him? The French prime minister.

I had to resist a powerful temptation to just step out of the pillar and say, “Hey, look at my man Ax, here! Get a clue! Aliens are real and we’re being invaded!”

I had to resist because there were an extreme number of guys in dark suits with sinister bulges under their jackets and very, very serious expressions.

If I stepped out of the pillar with Ax, there would be about five hundred bullets from five different nations in our bodies before we could say, “Hello.”

The subject of this whole summit meeting was the Middle East. I guess people get jumpy when that’s the topic under discussion. And the guys in the dark suits and shoulder holsters were probably jumpy to start with.

We demorphed and stood there, crammed together around the stainless steel Yeerk pool. Ax had to keep his tail held close to keep it from showing. I didn’t even want to think about what would happen if that tail blade suddenly appeared from the middle of a marble pillar.

“Now what?” Rachel mouthed silently.

“We wait,” I said just as quietly. Although as noisy as the room was, we probably could have yelled and not been heard.

We waited as the President sat down and was greeted with applause. We waited as they served soup. And then we waited as they served a salad. And waited some more as they started serving fish.

Something tingled the back of my neck. Something wrong. Something … I nudged Cassie.

“Didn’t you say you saw the President outside?” She nodded and gave me a quizzical look. “You said he was wearing shorts. Now he’s in a tuxedo.”

She looked confused. “I must have been mistaken,” she whispered. “Must have been some guy who looked like the President.”

One of the Controllers we’d knocked out started to stir, so Marco morphed back to cobra and gave him a mild dose in the leg.

Then came dessert. And the sad thing was, I was starving. I mean, I could have reached out and grabbed a dessert off the table, that’s how close I was. It was weird. Like being the invisible man.

But at last came the speeches.

“Get ready,” I said quietly, rousing the others, some of whom were half asleep from boredom.

“Let’s get these guys’ suits and ties. Um … not you, Rachel. Or Cassie. I kind of think this is a job for the boys only.”

It took about five minutes, but soon we had three suits of clothing and three unconscious guys in boxers and undershirts.

Ax, David, and I each acquired one of the unconscious Controllers.

I know what you’re thinking. We have a rule against morphing other humans. But to my mind, these weren’t really other humans. The bodies may have been. But their minds were pure Yeerk.

Besides, there was no other way. Even Cassie had agreed for this one time. If we didn’t pull this off, the leaders of the free world would be made into slaves of the Yeerks. That couldn’t happen.

Ax began to morph a guy in his late twenties. David and I began to morph into what could almost have been some version of ourselves twenty years from now. Rachel and Cassie turned discreetly away. It was an easy morph. But to tell you the truth, it was weird, anyway. There was something just wrong about using someone else’s DNA like that. Something … creepy. At some level, we were doing something very close to what the Yeerks were doing: We were taking control of a human being.

Not their minds, of course. Because morphing just gives you the body and the instincts, not the memory, the thoughts, the soul of an individual. Basically, we were cloning these three unconscious men. Making exact duplicates of their physical selves.

For me, the actual morph was a big nothing. I looked different, but I didn’t feel any different. Just taller, heavier, and like I needed a shave.

I quickly donned the man’s suit and slipped the still-knotted tie over my head. As soon as Ax had human arms we slipped his Controller’s suit and shirt on him. We’d all seen Ax try to put on “artificial skin,” as he called it. We didn’t have time to wait around for him to figure out the difference between arm holes and leg holes.

Then we tried to put on the tie. Just one problem: Cassie had picked up the tie he’d dropped and nervously unknotted it.

None of us guys had a clue how to retie it.

For about ten seconds, Marco and David and Tobias and I just stared at one another and at the tie and back at one another.

Then Rachel whispered, “Oh, good grief, you guys are pathetic. None of you has ever tied a tie?” She snatched the tie out of my hands, whipped it around Ax’s neck, tied it neatly, cinched it up, rebuttoned his shirt using the buttonholes we’d managed to miss, buttoned the top button of his jacket,
straightened his lapels, and pushed his hair into place. All in less time than we’d wasted staring blankly at one another.

She grabbed one of Ax’s shoulders and spun him around to face the “doorway” in the force field.

The Yeerks’ plan was simple. Wait until one of the presidents or prime ministers disappeared behind the marble column. Then, when the hologram was opened for just a split second, the two Controllers waiting there would shove their victim inside.

The hologram emitter would project an image of that same leader walking to the stage and giving his prepared speech.

When the speech was over, the man would appear to walk back behind the pillar. At which point the real leader, now a Controller, would step out, and boldly sit down with his wife and aides.

Our plan was equally simple. We’d wait till the Controllers outside shoved the President or prime minister our way. Then we’d grab him and let the emitter show the guy heading up onto the stage. Meanwhile, we’d explain to the man what was happening. We’d show him the Yeerks. We’d have Ax demorph to demonstrate that he was, in fact, an alien.

Then we’d let the guy go and repeat the process with each new leader. Insane, yes. But it was all we could think of. And it could have worked.

Could have. If… if I’d stopped to think about just how well a great horned owl can see at night. And just how recognizable the President is. And just how long it takes to put on a tuxedo.

First, those kids were so cute when it came to that tie scene. But, can you see Jake's mistake there?

Apr 22, 2010

Good Hunter, what... what is this post?

1 mistake in planning- why bother to dress Ax up if he's just going to demorph?

1 mistake in execution- why wait around doing nothing before taking the clothes?

1 mistake in threat assessment- trust your gut dude, Cassie in owl morph wasn't mistaken

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007

should have picked four fingers

Yes, I can. They just straight up murdered those three and their caved in skulls are now bleeding rivers into the carpet.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


Huh. That tie moment was the only actual event I've remembered from this trilogy so far. Besides the ending, of course in the next book.

Jul 24, 2010

Comrade Blyatlov posted:

Yes, I can. They just straight up murdered those three and their caved in skulls are now bleeding rivers into the carpet.

Yeah, four ounces is just a little bit lighter than a baseball. Imagine getting clocked in the head by a 150 MPH fastball. Those people are dead.

Oct 21, 2010

College Slice

WrightOfWay posted:

Yeah, four ounces is just a little bit lighter than a baseball. Imagine getting clocked in the head by a 150 MPH fastball. Those people are dead.

Well, except for the guys who were stirring.
Until they got cobra venom.

Jul 21, 2011

Epicurius posted:

They're gonna kill those hosts
Probably the Yeerks too, since they're stretched out over the brain.

Jul 7, 2009



Three places down along the table was the premier of Russia. Down from him? The French prime minister.

No such thing as the premier of Russia (KA's thinking of the USSR) and the French PM is the head of government, not the head of state, thus doesn't attend the G8.

Also it's pretty funny this came up right after we were talking about how cavalier fiction can be about knocking people unconscious after Marco tossed David's dad into that brick wall. Even if these Controllers are somehow still alive, the fact they've now been unconscious through three courses of a long meal doesn't bode well for them.

dungeon cousin
Nov 26, 2012

woop woop
loop loop

Fuschia tude posted:

Huh. That tie moment was the only actual event I've remembered from this trilogy so far. Besides the ending, of course in the next book.

Same here except my memory is of the president walking around in shorts at night. I don't know how I can forget almost everything else except for a little detail like that.

May 31, 2011

Fun Shoe

Epicurius posted:

Animorphs Book 21-The Threat, Chapter 19

plumb bobs, fishing weights, and even an awl.

Did they just drive a steel spike into someone's brain?

Terror Sweat
Mar 15, 2009

Last book Cassie ripped some guys throat out

Strategic Tea
Sep 1, 2012

It's not the red form anymore.
Incidental bones can file under the greens.

They're dead and Jake is blanking it out of his memory

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

freebooter posted:

No such thing as the premier of Russia (KA's thinking of the USSR) and the French PM is the head of government, not the head of state, thus doesn't attend the G8.

Fact checking for fiction writing was rough in the pre-Wikipedia days.

Homora Gaykemi
Apr 30, 2020

"We live together in her Skull Cave. We cook each other dinner all the time. She gifted me this beautiful horse. Do you think I should ask her out?"*

*Ancient lesbo saying

Strategic Tea posted:

They're dead and Jake is blanking it out of his memory

it's Hawkeye and the chicken all over again

Jul 21, 2011

No, I definitely believe that they're still out because Master Anaesthesiologist Marco In Snake Morph delivered exactly the right amount of snake venom to keep them unconscious without killing them.

And I've never seen a plumb bob to my knowledge, but Wikipedia says they often have pointed tips?

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


Skellybones posted:

Did they just drive a steel spike into someone's brain?

I was going to say "maybe they dropped it handle-side down", but at that speed I think wind resistance would instantly turn it the other way around due to the aerodynamics.

Sep 28, 2008

by reading this post you have agreed to form a gay socialist micronation.

Always a huge fan of the batman "we actually don't kill people" logic that is immediately revealed to be not the case. A plumb bob is like a drat spearhead at that velocity lol

Apr 10, 2010

College Slice

They did acquire their DNA, so they were at least alive (although probably dying in agony) then, since you can't acquire DNA from dead things.

May 24, 2011

Epicurius posted:

They did acquire their DNA, so they were at least alive (although probably dying in agony) then, since you can't acquire DNA from dead things.

...have they ever actually tried to acquire a fresh corpse? it takes a while for all of your cells to die


Jul 7, 2009


Shwoo posted:

No, I definitely believe that they're still out because Master Anaesthesiologist Marco In Snake Morph delivered exactly the right amount of snake venom to keep them unconscious without killing them.

In a morph that he's done precisely once before

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