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Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Animorphs Book 21-The Threat, Chapter 21

quote:

Someone was up on the podium doing an introduction. You know: “Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a great man, a man of the people, but also a man of history …”

Two burly-looking guys in dark suits edged up behind the pillar, on either side of the “door.”

The room burst into applause, and one man stood up and headed down the table toward us - toward what he saw as a marble pillar.

“Which one is he?” David whispered.

“The French prime minister,” I said. “I think.”

The French prime minister walked toward us around the back of the pillar, and … walked straight on by, up to the podium.

We looked at one another in confusion.

“He must be the one who is already a Controller,” David said.

I nodded. But I wasn’t too sure. Something was bothering me. Hovering just out of reach in my brain. I’d had that feeling before. That terrible feeling that I’d missed something.

Unfortunately, like most premonitions, it was useless. Because usually that kind of premonition turned out to be wrong.

Still, I tried to focus, tried to figure out what was nagging at me.

The French prime minister spoke for about ten minutes, then went to sit down. Another introduction followed. And then the Russian premier headed toward the podium.

We tensed up again. He came closer, closer…

This time it had to happen. Erek the Chee had always had excellent sources of information. And Erek had said only one head of state was definitely a Controller.

Like Cassie pointed out in the last book, Erek said that the Chee had discovered one head of state was definitely a controller, but he didn't say he knew that only one head of state was a controller.

quote:

The Russian premier walked past. And on up to the platform. He began talking, pausing every few seconds for the translator to translate his speech into English.

That’s when I knew.

“Oh, man,” I whispered. “It’s a trap.”

For a moment, I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t even breathe. I just stood there, reeling.

Then, I realized I knew one thing, at least. “Battle morphs! Now!” I hissed.

No one asked why. No one hesitated.

I demorphed to my own body. Without waiting, I began to grow orange-and-black-striped fur. But before I morphed completely, I grabbed Ax’s now-Andalite arm.

“A hologram inside a hologram. Is it possible?”

His eyes went wide in shock, then in anger. He didn’t have to answer.

I was halfway to tiger when the Russian premier started laughing. He was standing at the podium just laughing, although he still seemed to be delivering his speech. He was looking out at the audience, speaking Russian. But now, from within the Russian premier, came the sound of laughter.

<Has the truth dawned on you yet?> a familiar thought-speak voice asked. <Do you realize what has happened? Come, come, surely you must know it now. Surely such brilliant fighters as yourselves must have figured it out.>

From the very middle of the Russian premier, a hooved leg emerged. Then a pair of stalk eyes, an arm.

Visser Three stepped out of the Russian. Out of the hologram of the Russian.

The Russian kept talking. The audience kept nodding appreciatively and interrupting with applause. But none of it was real.

We were inside a hologram of a marble pillar. But the hologram of the marble pillar was inside a hologram showing a room full of people.

A hologram showing a president who in reality was outside. Wearing shorts, just as Cassie had seen him.

<Turn off the outer hologram,> Visser Three said.

Instantly the entire room full of people disappeared. All the heads of state. All the guests. All the food. All the sounds of laughter and applause and conversation.

It all disappeared. Instead, we saw the banquet room itself. Empty, except for the rows of tables and chairs.

That, plus a solid wall of Hork-Bajir warriors completely encircling us, each with a Dracon beam leveled directly at us. Or at least at the marble pillar they could see.

<Now,> Visser Three said with exquisite enjoyment, <now, you may turn off the inner hologram.>

We knew that the marble pillar had disappeared. We were now exposed to the army of Hork- Bajir. And not three feet away from Visser Three himself.

We stood there, a strange collection of animals: a tiger, a lion, a bear, a hawk, a wolf, a snake, and an Andalite. We were a formidable force. But we were nothing compared to the small army that surrounded us.

If one of us had so much as twitched, thirty or forty Dracon beams would have fired instantaneously. And a split second later we’d have been nothing but atoms.

<By the way,> Visser Three gloated. <The real banquet is tomorrow night.>

Visser Three doesn't normally get this sort of win, but this time, he was on the ball. This is a bit of tactical cleverness from him, arranging this trap. Also, research failure here for the Animorphs, because were there no newspapers covering this meeting's schedule?

Chapter 22

quote:

Trapped!

We had a simple choice: Surrender or die.

Only in reality, it was worse than that. Even if we surrendered, there was no guarantee we’d live. And at the very least we’d be made into Controllers.

<Let’s get them!> Rachel said. <What do we have to lose? At least we can take a few of them down with us!>

<No, we can’t,> Marco said flatly. <We’ll never even lay a paw on any of them. We won’t get two feet before they fry us.>

<Are we going to die?> David wailed.

Cassie nuzzled against him, comforting him - as much as a wolf could comfort a lion.

<Demorph,> Visser Three ordered. <Don’t worry, I have no desire to kill you. After all, six Andalite host bodies? It would be a great accomplishment for me. All of my most trusted lieutenants could have morphing power. That, plus making hosts of the most powerful leaders of this planet? I’ll be Visser One before the week is out! Hah-hah! I’ll be sitting on the Council of Thirteen within a year!>I swear the evil creep practically danced with glee. The urge to at least take a leap at him and maybe, just maybe, get my claws on him was so powerful I almost couldn’t think straight.

But at the same time, something was bothering me about what he’d said. About several things he’d said. Starting with the fact that he’d said there were six of us. He couldn’t have overlooked a lion, a bear, a tiger, or a wolf. Certainly he didn’t overlook Ax.

I tried to glance sideways and see the others. I could make out Tobias, sitting right out in the open where Visser Three had to see him. Which left …

Marco!

You might just overlook a snake. Especially if that snake was behind the stainless steel pool.

<Marco! Can the Visser see you?>

<Probably not, but about nine thousand Hork-Bajir can!>

<Marco … are they looking at you? I mean, are any of them looking at you?>

<Actually, no.>

I felt like my brain was working in slow motion. Visser Three didn’t see Marco. His Hork-Bajir didn’t seem to be looking at Marco. And Visser Three was still planning to go after the heads of state.

All of which meant… what?

<I’m growing impatient,> Visser Three said. <Demorph. Do it now. If you refuse, I’ll kill you one by one till you decide to comply.>


He raised a Dracon beam weapon and pointed it. The tip of it traveled from one of us to the other. Tobias … Rachel … Me …

<Who dies first?>

<Wait!> David cried. <Don’t shoot me! I’ll demorph. I don’t care about these - AAAHHHH!>

Cassie clamped her jaws around David’s right hind leg. Sweet, gentle Cassie.

HHRRRROOOOOWWWWWWRRRR

David roared in rage and pain. A roar that made my skin vibrate and made Visser Three jump.

Instinctively David jerked around, reaching for Cassie’s head with his own fangs. But Cassie was too clever for that. David spun around, trailing Cassie like an extra tail, but he could not reach her.

<Stop it! Stop it or I’ll shoot now!> Visser Three yelled.

<David!> I yelled. <Get a grip! Stop it!>

The Hork-Bajir just kept watching, Dracon beams raised as the weird fight of lion and wolf continued.

And that’s when it began to click. Even as I was yelling at David, the last puzzle piece fell into place. <How the heck did he get all those Hork-Bajir in this place?> I demanded suddenly. <We could barely get a dragonfly in here!>

If I was right … was I right? Or was I just desperate?

<Rachel! Explain to David that he needs to knock it off!> I snapped.

Rachel was on all fours. She half rose up to a sort of bear crouch. She reached out with her left paw and swung hard. She connected with David’s snarling, snapping jaw. David staggered. Cassie released David and jumped back.

Rachel is not subtle in her explanations.

quote:

<Hah! Andalites fighting among themselves,> Visser Three crowed. <But as entertaining as it is, I order you to stop!>

<She bit me!> David yelled, outraged.

<I’m going to kill you first,> Visser Three said to David.

<No! I’ll demorph! See? I’m doing it!>

<Shut up, you pathetic, gutless weasel,> Rachel screamed. <You won’t have to wait for Visser Three to kill you!>

<They’re threatening me!> David cried, running toward Visser Three.

And then I knew for sure. Visser Three turned his Dracon beam on David. He hesitated. But more important, none of the Hork-Bajir even flinched.

<I’m on your side!> David yelled.

<Bad choice, David,> I said coldly. <Ax?>

<Yes, my prince.>

<A hologram inside a hologram. That’s what we had, right?>

<Yes. The hologram of the marble pillar was inside the hologram of the banquet.>

<Any reason - any technical reason, I mean - why it couldn’t be a hologram, inside a hologram, inside a third hologram?>

<A third hologram?> Rachel said.

<Yeah. A hologram of a whole army of Hork-Bajir,> I said. <A projection. A fake. I don’t think they’re really there. I think Visser Three is here, and maybe he’s got a couple of human-Controllers with him. But that army of Hork-Bajir around us? I don’t think this is a live show. I think we’re watching videotapes.

<You sure?> Cassie asked.

<Marco? You’re out of Visser Three’s sight. Start moving toward the Hork-Bajir.>

<Attack them? All on my own? Jake, buddy, you better be right.>

<Yeah. I’d better be.>

Webs within webs within webs. And it looks like David's main problem here is a failure of nerve. He panics under pressure, which, given the amount of pressure these kids are under, isn't good.

Epicurius fucked around with this message at 04:02 on May 2, 2021

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Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


Well played, Visser Three. Well played indeed. His only slight mistake is not to have any surveillance inside the first hologram, but then, since he's certain that they're Andalites and not humans, he wouldn't bother.

But bra-loving-vo. Absolutely A+ execution of a flawless ambush.

Shwoo
Jul 21, 2011



Visser Three posted:

<By the way. The real banquet is tomorrow night.>

Earlier, Jake posted:

“Well, I assume this banquet is tonight.”
This is exactly why you don't make an rear end out of you and umption, Jake.

How did Visser Three know the Animorphs were there, though? The Yeerks don't know for sure that the Animorphs got in earlier. Were the Controllers they killed supposed to check in or something? Or was Visser Three just monologuing to a potentially empty room and hoping his enemies were there to hear it?

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


I'm assuming he saw the massive puddle of blood leaking out from an apparently solid pillar tried to call his guards and got no response.

SirSamVimes
Jul 21, 2008

~* Challenge *~




I mean Visser 3 would absolutely be the type to assume that his trap succeeded and start monologuing regardless of whether or not there's any evidence of it.

e X
Feb 23, 2013

cool but crude


Maybe he just starts monologueing at random intervals and this time, it just happened to work out.

HisMajestyBOB
Oct 21, 2010




College Slice

He did the exact same routine the past few nights.

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016


lol. Visser 3 just shouting "fools! I have you now!" at random intervals, just to be on the safe side.
Easily my favourite thing about this series is the fact its main villain is a bizarre alien, inhabiting the body of a second bizarre alien, and they are nonetheless instantly recognisable as Every Painful Mid-Level Manager Ever. V3 was my second boss, I'm sure of it.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Animorphs Book 21-The Threat, Chapter 23

quote:

<I’m slithering,> Marco said.

I waited. If I was wrong, Marco would die first. But if I was wrong, we’d all be pretty close behind him. All except David, maybe.

David was standing beside Visser Three. He was demorphing. But he was demorphing slowly. It would be impossible to tell that he was human. So far. In a few seconds …

No! David was remorphing! He was getting more lionlike again.

<Um, Jake?> Marco said. <I just bit a Hork-Bajir on the leg. He tasted like air. I went right through him. Hologram, but no force field.>

<It is a hologram!> I yelled triumphantly.

<There are no Hork-Bajir! Just us and the Visser.>

<Well, well, well,> Rachel said. <I think I’d better just …>

<No,> I said. <I’m faster than you are. I’ll get him!>

<But I’m closest,> David said suddenly.

David was standing just two feet from Visser Three.

<You want to kill someone, you filthy abomination, destroy me first!> Ax yelled suddenly.

A distraction! Good old Ax.

Visser Three swung his Dracon beam toward Ax, and David struck!

A powerful swipe of his massive forepaw, and suddenly Visser Three’s legs buckled. He toppled forward. He landed hard on his face and chest, but he kept his grip on his weapon.

David was on him in a flash.

The “Hork-Bajir” just kept watching. But through the hologram, out of the projected Hork-Bajir, half a dozen human-Controllers leaped, guns drawn.

David lunged at the Visser’s throat.

BLAM! BLAM!

I saw one bullet come out the far side of David’s shoulder, leaving a red hole the size of a quarter. A pinprick to a lion.

But David pulled back. And Visser Three was already morphing.

<Don’t use the human guns, you idiots!> Visser Three yelled. <You want everyone in this complex to hear? Draw your Dracon beams!>

My turn to get into the fight. I leaped for the nearest human-Controller. I hit him as he was fumbling inside his jacket. I knocked him back into and through the holographic wall of still impassive Hork-Bajir.

Suddenly we were outside the illusion. We were in the empty banquet room. I rolled off the human-Controller, got just enough distance, and nailed him across the face with my paw.

He went down and stayed down. It wouldn’t kill him. But getting hit by a tiger, even with claws retracted, was roughly like getting popped in the jaw by a cement block.

The remaining guards were struggling to draw Dracon beams. David was all over Visser Three,

but Visser Three was getting more powerful by the second. I don’t know what hideous alien beast he was morphing, but it was dark and large and had more arms than it should.

I leaped at the next Controller I saw, but Rachel loomed up behind him and tapped him lightly on the head. A light tap from a grizzly was more than enough. The man dropped like a sack of potatoes.

But two more Controllers now had Dracon beams drawn and aimed.

Cassie leaped!

Tseeeww!

A Dracon beam fired. Cassie howled and fell short of her target. A burn striped her side, as if someone had placed a red-hot pipe against her. I could smell burned fur. The Controller who’d shot her ran up and pointed his Dracon beam directly at her head.

<NO!> I yelled.

Visser Three had managed to push David away, but large and terrifying as the Visser had become, he suddenly discovered he had an Andalite tail blade pressed against his throat.

<Tell him not to fire!> Ax said. <If he pulls the trigger on that Dracon beam, I remove your head.>

Everything froze. No one moved. The only sound was panting.

<A standoff?!> Visser Three practically screamed. <I won’t accept that! I have you! I have you at last. You won’t escape me!>

Ax pressed his tail blade against the dark, pockmarked lizard skin of the morphed Visser’s throat till black blood began to seep out.

Still, the Visser wasn’t ready to give in. He’d gone to a lot of trouble to catch us. He’d taken a big risk. And you don’t get to be a Visser of the Yeerk Empire without being determined.

<Which of you is the human?> he asked, his thought-speak voice suddenly silky and insinuating.

Ax was the one to answer. <Humans?> He forced a laugh. <You are losing your sense of reason, Visser. Humans do not morph.>

<I know you found the blue box,> Visser Three said coolly. <I know a human boy named David found it. And I know you Andalite bandits have gotten to him. You either killed him or made him one of you. And killing him in cold blood wouldn’t have suited the hypocritical Andalite sense of
morality.>

He was demorphing, returning to his own stolen Andalite body. His stalk eyes were reemerging now, and he turned them to look from one of us to the other.

<One of you is the human child named David. It’s to you that I’m speaking, David. David? Your parents are with me. They miss you. They would like to see you again.>

<David, don’t say a -> I started to say. But too late.

<You took my parents!> David said. <You turned them into … into Yeerks!>

<Yes. But we would not do that to you, David. I give you my word. You would be allowed to live free with your parents.>

<Liar,> Ax sneered. <The word of Visser Three.>

<What other choice do you have?> Visser Three continued, ignoring Ax. <We know what you look like. You’ll never be able to go out in the world again, David. Never go to one of your human entertainments. Never ->

<Silence!> Ax said.

<Are you afraid for the young human to hear the truth? You see, David? They can’t allow you to learn the truth. The Andalites are a race of liars!>

One of the Controllers touched the earpiece in his ear. “Visser! Humans coming!”

<So, what will it be, David?> the Visser asked. <Come with us now. We’ll take you to your parents.>

<Don’t waste your time, Visser,> Ax said.

“Visser! Humans coming, fast! U.S. Secret Service. We’re monitoring their communications. They are searching for the location of all the noises. They’ll reach us in minutes!”

Visser Three hesitated still. I could see the frustration on his face. His main eyes were burning with rage.

<Come over to us, David. Go to your old home. We’ll watch for you there. Come over to us! We’ll make you powerful! Safe!>

Visser Three began to morph again, this time emerging as Tony, the protocol chief. One of the Controllers was already opening a briefcase with one of Tony’s suits inside.

<Turn the inner hologram back on,> Ax directed. <Just wait till we are all inside it.>

We drew apart, two armies observing a truce. The Yeerks backed toward the door as Visser Three continued to morph to human.

We edged within the area that would be concealed by the hologram of the pillar.

Ten minutes later, we were away from the resort. Shaken. Filled with doubts. No closer to our goal of protecting the leaders of the free world.
But alive.

I mean, I guess in the end, David did attack Visser Three when it counted. That's something, right?

Chapter 24

quote:

We flew home through darkness. I knew the moods of my friends. I knew who would explode and when. I contacted them, one by one, in private thought-speak.

<Don’t say a word, Marco,> I warned.

<About what? About the fact that David was ready to ->

<I don’t have time to argue, Marco, just don’t!>

I never do that. I never hand out orders. I mean, I am supposed to be the leader, but I don’t give orders. I just don’t feel like I have the right. But this time I had no choice. One wrong word, and we could be in bigger trouble than we were already in.

<You guys know I was just faking the big Yeerk out, right?> David said.

<Yeah, right,> Rachel began.

<Rachel. Shut up!> I snapped so only she could hear me.

<I was!> David yelled. <I was never going to surrender! And you had no right calling me a coward, Rachel! Maybe you’re a coward!>

<Rachel! Not. One. WORD,> I said. <You hear me? Not one word.> Then, one by one, I contacted Tobias, Ax, and Cassie. The message was the same: No one disses David. We all accept his story. We all play along like we believe it.

<I mean, look,> David was saying, <I’m the one who took him down, right? I mean, I got the creep. Even though Cassie had been chewing on my leg. Which was totally unnecessary.>

<You did great, David,> I said.

<Yeah. I think you almost finished the guy off,> Marco enthused.

<I was impressed,> Rachel said. Then added privately to me, <The gutless, treacherous little worm. He blows with the wind. He turned on Visser Three when he saw we might win.>

David seemed to relax as we flew. Then he went beyond relaxing. He started bragging. <Like I was ever scared of that guy? No way. Him and me, we had a score to settle. And I would have taken him down, only the way it played out I couldn’t. You know, because they got Cassie and all.>

<Yeah, thanks for holding back, David,> Cassie said. <I guess you saved my life.>

<No problem,> David said.

It went that way all the trip back to the barn. David boasting, us reassuring. And the truth was, I couldn’t be totally sure he wasn’t telling the whole truth.

My instincts told me he was lying. That he’d gone over to the Visser, and only turned on him when, as Rachel had said, he saw how the wind was blowing.

But I couldn’t be sure. All I knew for sure was one thing: We couldn’t act like we were suspicious of David. If he was lying, we’d just end up warning him. If he was telling the truth, we’d destroy any possibility of trust between us.

So we had to shut up and play along. For now.

It was late when we got back to the barn. Rachel had to rush home to avoid getting grounded for all of eternity. Cassie had to invent some story about having come across an injured raccoon who got away. Her parents would accept that. Marco was basically toast, unless he’d gotten lucky and his dad
had gone out on a date. (Turned out he had not. Marco was going to be applying fertilizer to the lawn and losing TV for a week.)

Ax and Tobias had no problems. Neither did I. I knew Tom was probably still out. And with my parents out of town, I wasn’t in danger of getting grounded.

I thought-spoke privately with Tobias and Ax. Then I flew home and demorphed. I rumpled my bed and stuck a couple of pillows under the covers to make it look like I was sleeping. I wolfed down some food, carefully leaving dirty dishes around for when Tom came home. He’d see the dishes and figure I’d raided the refrigerator before going to bed. I even left the TV on, something I do by accident sometimes.

Then I morphed again, and flew back to the barn to wait.

I resumed human form, crouching and shivering in the bed of Cassie’s dad’s pickup truck.

I didn’t see Ax or Tobias, but I knew they were there in the night, somewhere.

Midnight. Nothing.

One o’clock. Nothing.

Maybe I was wrong. I hoped I was wrong. If I wasn’t wrong, I didn’t know what to do.

I’ll tell you something, though. You don’t want to try and be hopeful at one in the morning. It’s nothing but depressing at that hour. Cassie’s house was dark. Everyone was asleep.

Two o’clock.

It began to rain lightly. Only there’s no such thing as “light” rain where you’re hunched down on a bag of peat moss in the back of a pickup, wearing bike shorts and a T-shirt.

I crawled stiffly out of the bed of the truck and climbed into the cab of the truck. Unbelievable!

The keys were in the ignition.

I turned them to the “on” position and switched on the radio very low. That at least was an improvement.

Two-thirty.

I was wrong about David. If he stayed in the barn, I was wrong. And he was staying in the barn.

I kept playing the scene over and over in my mind. The moment when he said <Wait! Don’t shoot me! I’ll demorph. I don’t care about these -> And then the fight between him and Cassie. Was David telling the truth? Was it all just a clever plan to get close to Visser Three? Had Cassie just gotten in the way?

<They’re threatening me!> That’s what he’d yelled as he ran to the Visser’s side. All part of a plan?

I was fighting sleep and losing. My head kept falling forward, then suddenly snapping back as I jerked to consciousness. My eyes were bleary from peering at the barn.

And, in fact, I missed it when it happened.

But Ax didn’t.

<This is Aximili,> he said, in as loud a thought-speak as he could manage. <We have an eagle leaving the barn.>

Tobias’s thought-speak came from somewhat closer. <I see him. Jake? I hope you hear me. Because we have a traitor.>

Oh, David....

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



How far into morph do they have to go before they can use thought-speak?

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


Roughly as far as the plot needs them to.

WrightOfWay
Jul 24, 2010




Fuschia tude posted:

How far into morph do they have to go before they can use thought-speak?

It seems like it's whenever they lose the ability to make normal human language so it depends. Cassie can probably force it to happen pretty quickly but for the others it's basically random.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


For some reason I really remember that scene of Jake pulling night-time stakeout duty. I would have first read this series alongside John Marsden's Tomorrow series (Red Dawn in Australia but a bit more serious) and both books have a lot of night-time stuff contrasted against the day in an otherwise normal everyday environment; just this sense that it's such a weird, crazy time for otherwise ordinary teenagers to be going out and risking their lives in the dead of the night.

quote:

<Never go to one of your human entertainments.>

<Such as the Chinese Lantern Festival, or Foxy Boxing!>

Pwnstar
Dec 9, 2007

Who wants some waffles?



I love the alien trait of speaking perfect English but just talking like a weirdo. It's dumb but also very good. "How dare you propel stones at me" from Andalite Chronicles was a good one.

von Metternich
May 7, 2007
Why the hell not?

Food for thought:

Shouldn’t the Yeerks feed more often? It seems like they die after almost exactly three days. Like, if your host is stuck in traffic and you’re an hour late to feed, you die. Also the last six hours or so seems extremely painful...I’d suggest they probably go every other day.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Unfortunately, due to reasons outside my control (walked into a Yeerk ambush and now have to hunt down a rogue team member), no chapters tonight. New chapters are coming tomorrow. Sorry about that. Meanwhile, what do people think about this storyline so far?

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016


I detect a note of wistfulness in that "your human entertainments" line. I guess Yeerk entertainments consist of entering the Cruelty Dome and Andalites are into writing poems about looking at vases.

Mazerunner
Apr 22, 2010

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


Epicurius posted:

Unfortunately, due to reasons outside my control (walked into a Yeerk ambush and now have to hunt down a rogue team member), no chapters tonight. New chapters are coming tomorrow. Sorry about that. Meanwhile, what do people think about this storyline so far?

It's good. You can see the tragedy of it- many of David's reactions are understandable or even reasonable, and how he'd be able to contribute to the team, and how they could have integrated him under better circumstances. But you can also see how David's throwing up a bunch of red flags- to me the most notable one was killing that bird- even before outright trying to sell them out.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


I've been trying to put my finger on what bothers me about that cobra, and it's the defanging. Guy clearly doesn't give a gently caress about animal abuse, which is generally considered a gigantic red flag.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Tree Bucket posted:

I detect a note of wistfulness in that "your human entertainments" line. I guess Yeerk entertainments consist of entering the Cruelty Dome and Andalites are into writing poems about looking at vases.

Hey, if you're a voluntary controller you get to hang out in the break room underground and watch TV while your yeerk sunbathes.


Comrade Blyatlov posted:

I've been trying to put my finger on what bothers me about that cobra, and it's the defanging. Guy clearly doesn't give a gently caress about animal abuse, which is generally considered a gigantic red flag.

Eh, I don't know that that necessarily is. If it's like cat declawing, that was considered totally normal and acceptable, even expected, in much of the US until pretty recently. Even now some states still require you to have a skunk's scent gland removed if you're keeping it as a pet.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers


Oh god have I become an animal crazy

WrightOfWay
Jul 24, 2010




I can't really blame David that much for not being loyal to the Animorphs. They haven't exactly done the best job of integrating him into the group and I don't think he understands the ruthless brutality of Visser 3 and the Yeerks. The other kids had the "advantage" of seeing the murder of Elfangor and the Yeerk pool very early on so they knew that there could be no negotiating or surrender to Visser 3.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



WrightOfWay posted:

I can't really blame David that much for not being loyal to the Animorphs. They haven't exactly done the best job of integrating him into the group and I don't think he understands the ruthless brutality of Visser 3 and the Yeerks. The other kids had the "advantage" of seeing the murder of Elfangor and the Yeerk pool very early on so they knew that there could be no negotiating or surrender to Visser 3.

Yeah, his reactions do seem pretty reasonable to me. He thought that ambush situation was hopeless, he hardly has much more reason to trust the Animorphs over the Visser, and in one fell swoop he just lost his whole family and home life and was thrown into an anti-alien-invasion conspiracy guerrilla war. No one would be carefully reasoning in that situation, let alone a teenager.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


I thought this might be my favourite book of the series, but actually it's probably the next one. Though the cliffhanger climax to this one is certainly memorable.

The storyline overall I think remains one of the best in the series.

edit - thought this might be my favourite book of the trilogy, I mean, not the series overall. Though all three of them would easily be top 10.

Shwoo
Jul 21, 2011



This entire book so far and the previous one have happened over the space of four school days. No wonder everyone's stressed and confused. Look at all this stuff.

Day One
-While at school, Marco learns that the blue box survived, and was found by a new kid to his school, David.
-The Animorphs meet in Cassie's barn, and decide they need to steal the box as soon as possible.
-While they're preparing at a Burger King, Eric arrives and tells them about a secret summit taking place in town. Six world leaders are involved, and the Yeerks want to use the opportunity to infest them.
-The Animorphs completely fail to steal the blue box from David's house.

Day Two
-During lunch at school, David tells Marco about what happened the night before, and says he's got a buyer lined up for the box. He's set his email to send the buyer his address just before he comes home from school.
-After spending some time finding the others to tell them what's happening, Marco leaves school a couple of hours early and finds Ax and Tobias. They go to David's house to stop the email from going out.
-David's computer clock was off, and the email sends before the Animorphs can stop it. There's a big battle, and the Animorphs are able to recover the box and save David, but not his parents.
-The Animorphs bring an unconscious David to an alley, and discuss what to do with him. They decide it would be best to bring him into their group.
-They relocate to Cassie's barn and give David the exposition dump.
-David stays at Marco's house, until he tries to call his parents. Marco makes him do it from a pay phone, and David sees that his parents are controllers.
-David is moved, to Jake's house for some reason.

Day Three
-Either before or after school, the Animorphs and David go into the woods. David gets the morphing power, and acquires a golden eagle.
-At some point, David acquires a cockroach and a lion.
-David morphs the eagle back at Cassie's barn.
-The Animorphs fly to the resort the summit is being held at, and notice a cloaked Yeerk ship. They go aboard the ship and witness Visser Three acquiring someone who eventually turns out to be the White House Chief of Protocol.
-Back on the beach, Tobias and David acquire seagull morphs, and they continue their reconnaissance. Security is extremely tight, and there's a Controller scaring away the birds with laser sunglasses or something.
-Jake returns home and learns about his cousin Saddler's accident.
-Jake does some research online about the leaders at the summit, until about 10pm, when Cassie calls to tell Jake that David is missing.
-Jake tracks David to a hotel, and they have a confrontation.

Day Four
-The Animorphs skip school and meet in Cassie's barn. The ones who don't yet have a flea morph acquire it, and Jake acquires a dragonfly.
-They infiltrate the resort, but getting there took so much time that they're forced to demorph inside the ballroom. They learn that a banquet will take place soon, and that the Yeerks will probably make their move then. They also find a way to get in that won't eat up all their morphing time.
-The Animorphs return to the barn and have another meeting. Jake tells Rachel about Saddler.
-They return to the resort, kill harmlessly knock out some Controllers, and acquire them, then sit through a long banquet.
-The banquet turns out to be a hologram, and the Animorphs are ambushed by Visser Three, who reveals that the real banquet is the following night. They manage to escape, but not before Visser Three offers David a deal in return for his surrender.
-Jake returns home, has dinner, and leaves to stake out Cassie's barn with Tobias and Ax, in case David takes Visser Three up on his offer.

Day Five
-David leaves the barn in the early hours of the morning.

Jake hasn't had a proper night's sleep for days.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


"The following takes place between 8:00pm and 9:00pm on the day of the 1997 G8 summit in California."

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

low vis




freebooter posted:

"The following takes place between 8:00pm and 9:00pm on the day of the 1997 G8 summit in California."

We’ve got a few dozen books left to go before the protagonists start outright torturing people Jack Bauer style.

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012



I'm just still amazed they got owned partially by Visser Three's plan. That's got to be incredibly embarrassing. But yeah, I definitely feel a lot more "wow, absolutely nobody in the original Animorphs is doing a good job with the David situation" than I remember being as a child.

Jazerus
May 24, 2011



Comrade Blyatlov posted:

I've been trying to put my finger on what bothers me about that cobra, and it's the defanging. Guy clearly doesn't give a gently caress about animal abuse, which is generally considered a gigantic red flag.

defanging was fairly common practice at the time and, again, this is a child; his dad defanged the cobra, not David.

QuickbreathFinisher
Sep 28, 2008

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


I just realized how incredibly stupid it is to have David anywhere near Jake's house, and by extension, Tom.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Jazerus posted:

defanging was fairly common practice at the time and, again, this is a child; his dad defanged the cobra, not David.

So what do people do now? Just have cobras with intact venom sacs?

Jazerus
May 24, 2011



QuickbreathFinisher posted:

I just realized how incredibly stupid it is to have David anywhere near Jake's house, and by extension, Tom.

the solution to this whole problem was to get over their misplaced unwillingness to ever steal anything, pull off some kind of modest heist (maybe on criminals??), and put david up in a sketchy apartment by having him morph an adult part-time. this would give him the freedom he wants while tying him financially to them, at least temporarily. hopefully enough time to get david on board for real.

i totally understand their unwillingness to do crimes but at a certain point saving the world takes priority; hell, the yeerks have to have some financial support lines that they could raid.

Soup du Jour
Sep 8, 2011

I always knew I'd die with a headache.



Jazerus posted:

the solution to this whole problem was to get over their misplaced unwillingness to ever steal anything, pull off some kind of modest heist (maybe on criminals??), and put david up in a sketchy apartment by having him morph an adult part-time. this would give him the freedom he wants while tying him financially to them, at least temporarily. hopefully enough time to get david on board for real.

i totally understand their unwillingness to do crimes but at a certain point saving the world takes priority; hell, the yeerks have to have some financial support lines that they could raid.

The problem here is that David is going to escalate pretty quickly to "I'm gonna kill these kids and become a criminal mastermind" and even in a world where they do their utmost to accommodate him it seems likely that he's still going to get there but more slowly

Mazerunner
Apr 22, 2010

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


I think step one is to go information lockdown. Well step one is actually don't gently caress up getting the blue box back, but you know.

Don't reveal their human identities, or even that they are human, in order to protect themselves if David's captured/turns. Use Ax as the group's face, because alien gives an air of legitimacy that a group of teenagers doesn't have.

Don't give him the morphing power yet- either use the lie that Ax needs time to figure out how it works, or just be honest and say he needs to prove himself trustworthy.

Keep him far away from Jake's house, but honestly all their parents are a risk- like, even if they don't get infested, there's gonna be a legitimate search for missing child David.

Ideally ask the Chee if he can stay with them, at least for now. If that's not an option then yeah, they're gonna have to do some thieving. Preferably they could target criminals, or known controllers/controller organizations. Maybe get him an RV or cabin out in the woods or something.

Jazerus
May 24, 2011



Mazerunner posted:

Ideally ask the Chee if he can stay with them, at least for now. If that's not an option then yeah, they're gonna have to do some thieving. Preferably they could target criminals, or known controllers/controller organizations. Maybe get him an RV or cabin out in the woods or something.

ask erek to be "david", have him get "captured" and "yeerked", and then david can move freely while erek's yeerk gets a roommate. the kid is just not going to deal with being outside of civilization in any reasonable way, so give him a way to watch MTV. maybe erek won't agree to this long-term, but it buys them time to win david over.

i'm not really a believer in the idea that david bugging out and deciding to become a criminal mastermind was inevitable, or that he's a fundamentally bad person or anything like that. his breakdown is decidedly the result of way too much stress over the course of a week, for a 13 year old. things might have been different if he'd had the chance to enter the war more slowly, and maybe in a support role instead of front line. david fleeing the war here is no different from tobias trying to commit suicide-by-skylight or marco vowing to quit just before he discovered that visser 1's host is his mom

OctaviusBeaver
Apr 30, 2009

Say what now?

I think I agree with Ax, recruiting a total stranger is a dumb idea. Yeah if they leave him alone he gets Yeerked, but people are getting Yeerked every day, why is this any different just because they happen to know him?

Marco's dad would probably be a good candidate though Marco might not want to risk him. Or freeing human controllers and setting up independent cells that you control with dead drops, so if one cell gets captured it's not game over.

Jazerus
May 24, 2011



OctaviusBeaver posted:

I think I agree with Ax, recruiting a total stranger is a dumb idea. Yeah if they leave him alone he gets Yeerked, but people are getting Yeerked every day, why is this any different just because they happen to know him?

Marco's dad would probably be a good candidate though Marco might not want to risk him. Or freeing human controllers and setting up independent cells that you control with dead drops, so if one cell gets captured it's not game over.

yeah i mean all of my what-ifs are under the presumption that they already did all of the stuff leading up to david having a full utility belt of morphs. they shouldn't have recruited him at all, just put him on a bus back to the city he lived in before he moved to Somewhere, California with the idea that if he was going to stay off the radar anywhere it would be there

freeing controllers is a good idea especially since they could provide intel on everything they've worked on and maybe even do a bit of spying before the yeerks catch on. chapman, leader of the resistance!

e X
Feb 23, 2013

cool but crude


At this point, there is a free Hork Bajir colony. Have him life there for a while.

Soup du Jour
Sep 8, 2011

I always knew I'd die with a headache.



e X posted:

At this point, there is a free Hork Bajir colony. Have him life there for a while.

New Arrival Starves After All-Bark Diet Fails
”Humans are truly strange”, says local leader Jara Hamee

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Strategic Tea
Sep 1, 2012

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


I was getting ready to moan about how David is just an irredemable <<evil psychopath>> character but actually reading again as an adult he's quite well done.

He just has a very believable, childlike selfishness that he hasn't grown out of yet.

Now he's off to war! *rock music, helicopter montage*

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