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Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Sjs00 posted:

Ah petty vandalism nice. They couldn't just include some detail about Marco loving baseball and just whipping out one to Mary Sue situations? That would be okay

I mean, the Animorph stories don't have omniscient narrative voice. The story's being told by Tobias, who didn't know where Marco got the baseball from and probably didn't care. The narrative voice isn't even always reliable, as this book is showing. We've seen a bunch of attempts by Tobias to rationalize and minimize his feelings and behavior. In the last book, Rachel thought that Flea Jake listened to her and escaped after she was captured, only to find out he didn't, and didn't know that the rest of the animorphs were at the construction site planning to rescue her.

One of the things to keep in mind when reading the series is that the narration is always going to be biased, and that we're not going to be given complete or objective information, but that we're going to need to put things together through context cues and the other information we have.

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Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Encounter-Chapter 19

quote:

<I don't like this plan,> I blurted.

Jake looked up at me in surprise. "Tobias, you were in on the planning right from the start."

<Look, don't you guys realize how dangerous this could be?>

"I realize," Marco said. "I realize it plenty. But I thought you were the big, gung-ho Yeerkkiller. Suddenly now you're afraid?"

<I'm not afraid for me,> I said. <I'll be flying around safely while the four of you go up into that ship.>

Cassie nodded. "It's hard standing by while someone else is risking their life," she said. "I understand how you feel. But there have been times when you were the one taking the risks."

"Look, we don't have time to debate this," Jake said. "We have a plan we've all agreed to. Let's get on with it before the Yeerks show up." Jake gets peevish when someone questions things after everything has already been decided. Usually it's Marco getting on his nerves.

"We'll be okay," Rachel said confidently. Rachel took the fish in her hand. The fish went limp, as usual, while the acquiring was happening.

Suddenly I couldn't watch anymore. I'd just had a flash of memory, watching the four of them straining to get out of their wolf bodies. What if they were trapped in fish morph?

The idea of being trapped was still not something any of them really understood. I mean, they knew it had happened to me. But people are funny - they never think something bad will happen to them. I knew it could happen.

That's a universal.

quote:

And to be trapped as a fish? It made me sick just thinking about it. The rest of your life in the body of a fish? Being trapped in a hawk's body seemed downright pleasant by comparison.

<I'm going to go upstairs and see if anyone's coming,> I said. I caught a small breeze and flapped hard to clear the treetops.

It was tough work gaining enough altitude to get a good view of the area. It was mostly dead air all around. But I was glad for the workout. It took my mind off imagining what life would be like if my only friends in the world were trapped as fish in a mountain lake.

I would have laughed if it weren't so serious. I mean, come on, how many kids have to worry about all their friends becoming fish? Life had definitely gotten strange since that night when we saw the Andalite landing in the construction site.

I circled higher and higher till I could see the entire lake and most of the surrounding area. No Park Rangers. Yet. I wondered if Jake was right and maybe the Yeerks would move on to another lake. Maybe they already had.

Then, there, way down below, on a branch . . . the hawk. The female I had freed from captivity.

She was watching me. I could see her eyes follow me across the sky. In part, I knew, she was merely watching me for the simple reason that I was in her territory. Hawks are defensive about their territory. They don't want strangers coming and grabbing all the best prey.

But I had the feeling that there was something more going on. She wanted me to join her. I don't know how I knew that, but I did. She wanted me-to fly down to her.

Some people think hawks mate for just a season. Some people think they mate for life, and I don't really know which is true.

One thing I knew for sure: I wasn't ready to settle down with anyone. Especially not a hawk. And yet there was this feeling in me. Like . . . like I belonged with her.

I looked away. I would be glad when this mission was over and I no longer had to come here to her territory. She confused me.

Tobias and his commitment issues.

quote:

Suddenly, movement!

I had let myself be distracted.

Trucks! Jeeps! They were rolling down the road. They were within a mile and moving fast. I looked frantically for my friends. There they were! I shrugged off the wind beneath my wings and dropped toward them.

<Here they come!> I cried. <Get to the cave!>

They ran for the cave. But it was harder to crawl inside in their human bodies. The wolves' thick pelts had protected them against the scratches and tears of the bushes.

Thwak thwak thwak thwak thwak!

Helicopters skimming above the trees!

Too fast. My friends were still struggling to make it to the shelter of the cave. One of the helicopters was on a straight line to them.

<Oh, man,> I muttered. I still had a lot of my speed from the dive. I flapped hard, powering up to maximum speed. Straight at the helicopter.

Straight at it.

I could see the pilot. A human-Controller. Beside him sat a Hork-Bajir.

Straight at them!

The chopper was doing ninety. I was doing a little less. The distance between me and the chopper's windshield shortened very fast.

They weren't going to pull up!

It seems to me we learn a few things in this chapter. First, we learn that Jake doesn't like it when people question him once he's already decided on something....or at least that Tobias sees Jake this way. Is it true? Maybe. It seems to me that this fits with the earlier scene of Jake as alpha male wolf, unable to back down when the other wolf challenged him.

Also, and Cassie confirmed it, it's hard to know your friends are going to take a risk and you won't be there to help them.

We also learned the dangers of playing chicken....err, hawk, with a helicopter.

Radio Free Kobold
Aug 11, 2012

"Federal regulations mandate that at least 30% of our content must promote Reptilian or Draconic culture. This is DJ Scratch N' Sniff with the latest mermaid screeching on KBLD..."



Flyin' low across the trees
Droppin' hawks on Visser Three
Andalites doing as they please
Napalm sticks to Yeerks

Sjs00
Jun 29, 2013



I'm interested in how the Hork-Bajir manages to strap into the seat

SardonicTyrant
Feb 26, 2016

BTICH IM A NEWT
熱くなれ夢みた明日を
必ずいつかつかまえる
走り出せ振り向くことなく
&





Sjs00 posted:

I'm interested in how the Hork-Bajir manages to strap into the seat
There's a scene later on that shows the Andelites don't have seats in their ships, they just stand and brace.

Sjs00
Jun 29, 2013



SardonicTyrant posted:

There's a scene later on that shows the Andelites don't have seats in their ships, they just stand and brace.

This is a presumably human helicopter though. Anyway, great read OP, keep em coming!

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



The Hork-Bajir just has his feet against the canopy and knees against his chest, with a look of grim determination.

Ednamamame
Dec 12, 2019


Poor Tobias. Cassie's right on the money there, and it'll be even worse as he's the reason they're there in the first place. I can see why he gets morphing back in his next book. First person angst about being left behind while his friends do the dangerous stuff would get old very quickly.

Hork-Bajir size baby seats were obviously top of the list of Yeerk needs on Earth.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Encounter-Chapter 20

quote:

Thwak thwak thwak thwak thwak!

The sound of the rotors was a roar.

They were not going to pull up! We were going to hit.

But then, a flicker of the pilot's eyes, a twitch of his hand on the control stick.

I cranked right.

The helicopter cranked left.

It blew past me like a tornado. The backwash of the rotors caught me and tumbled me through the air.

I fell, upside down. I folded my wings, flared my tail, and spun around. I opened my wings and swooped neatly between two trees.

I banked left and flew over the cave. Rachel was the last one in. She was still clearly visible. The helicopter would almost certainly have seen her.

I watched till she was safely inside.

<Okay, you guys, I don't think anyone saw you. Be cool till I tell you it's time.>

They couldn't answer, of course. They were still fully human, so they could hear my thoughtspeech, but could not respond in kind.

The Yeerks went through the familiar routine. The phony Park Rangers fanned out around the lake with automatic weapons ready. The helicopters buzzed around until they decided the area was free of witnesses.

The helicopters landed and the Hork-Bajir jumped out. They seemed extra careful. Probably Visser Three had given them all kinds of grief over the guy I had helped to escape the day before.

Visser Three was not a creature you wanted mad at you.

Then, I felt it. The emptiness in the sky. The sense of something monstrously huge moving slowly through the air.

It was above me.

Slowly it appeared, shimmering into reality like some kind of magic trick.

You could never get used to how big that thing was. It felt like someone was hanging a small moon over your head.

I flew out from under it, over closer to the cave. <It's here,> I announced.

From behind the truck ship came the usual guard of Bug fighters. Only instead of two Bug fighters, there were four. The Yeerks were definitely nervous this time. Two of the Bug fighters remained on patrol. The other two landed in the clearing beside the helicopters.

Why? Why the extra security? Was it just because of the guy I had helped to escape?

I felt something new in the air above the hovering truck ship. Another cloaked ship!

Not as large, but from that emptiness in the sky I felt a dread that I had felt before.

The cloak shimmered out and the ship appeared.

Black within black, an outthrust spear, razor-edged - I had seen this ship before. The Blade ship! I had seen it first at the construction site where the Andalite had been murdered while we cried helplessly.

No wonder the Yeerks were nervous.

The Blade ship lowered toward the landing area. The Hork-Bajir on the ground and the Park Rangers were in a frenzy now, searching the woods as if their lives depended on it.

Tssewww!

Someone had fired a Dracon beam. I looked and saw a deer in mid-leap sizzle and disappear. The Yeerks were shooting anything that moved.

The doors of the Blade ship opened. More Hork-Bajir poured out, Dracon beams leveled. Behind them came a pair of Taxxons, slithering and shimmying on their needle legs, undulating their gross caterpillar bodies.

And last, he stepped out: dainty Andalite hooves. Deadly Andalite tail, like a scorpion's. The mouthless Andalite face. The two small Andalite arms with too many fingers. The two mobile eyes mounted on antlerlike stalks that turned this way and that, always searching, so that the large main eyes could focus on one thing at a time.

An Andalite body.

But not an Andalite mind. For in that Andalite body lived a Yeerk. The only AndaliteController. The only Yeerk ever to enslave an Andalite. And thus, the only Yeerk to have the power to morph.

I dropped down into the trees. I waited till a patrolling Hork-Bajir had walked past the cave where my friends hid.

When I was sure no one would see, I fluttered down and into the cave, scraping the bushes on either side.

"Tobias? Is that you?" Jake whispered.

<Yes.>

"What are you doing here? That's not the plan."

<Forget the plan. He's here.>

No one asked who. They all knew from the way I had said it.

He was here.

Visser Three.

So does Visser Three just micromanage everything? Like, does he feel the need to do that?

Agaragon
Nov 16, 2018


I think the Andalite host has granted him the ability to sense, at any time, where he can at maximum efficiency be a Terrifying Dramatic rear end in a top hat. He just has to switch the targets from being his own subordinates every now and then, don't want them to get *too* used to his bullshit.

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

red bird

Epicurius posted:

The Encounter-Chapter 20


So does Visser Three just micromanage everything? Like, does he feel the need to do that?

"Visser Three is there. ...Visser Three is always there."

Radio Free Kobold
Aug 11, 2012

"Federal regulations mandate that at least 30% of our content must promote Reptilian or Draconic culture. This is DJ Scratch N' Sniff with the latest mermaid screeching on KBLD..."



I bet he does. I mean, he hits basically every other item on the "lovely Boss" checklist.

Daikloktos
Jan 1, 2020



Epicurius posted:

So does Visser Three just micromanage everything? Like, does he feel the need to do that?
The poo poo he doesn't delegate in later books... the best part is he sometimes shows up in a limo to these clandestine operations in remote areas

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

red bird

Daikloktos posted:

The poo poo he doesn't delegate in later books... the best part is he sometimes shows up in a limo to these clandestine operations in remote areas

That's part about what I love about Visser Three. The dude has the ultimate infiltration, subterfuge, and espionage ability at his disposal, and through a combination of ego and idiocy insists on being as absolutely blatant as possible. And the one time he DOES try to do any kind of morphing skullduggery, he's outted instantly because he can't sell an act for poo poo.

Radio Free Kobold
Aug 11, 2012

"Federal regulations mandate that at least 30% of our content must promote Reptilian or Draconic culture. This is DJ Scratch N' Sniff with the latest mermaid screeching on KBLD..."



he is competent in all the worst ways, and stunningly inept in all the best ones

Fritzler
Sep 5, 2007




nine-gear crow posted:

That's part about what I love about Visser Three. The dude has the ultimate infiltration, subterfuge, and espionage ability at his disposal, and through a combination of ego and idiocy insists on being as absolutely blatant as possible. And the one time he DOES try to do any kind of morphing skullduggery, he's outted instantly because he can't sell an act for poo poo.
What book are your spoilers from? It sounds funny.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers

nine-gear crow posted:

That's part about what I love about Visser Three. The dude has the ultimate infiltration, subterfuge, and espionage ability at his disposal, and through a combination of ego and idiocy insists on being as absolutely blatant as possible. And the one time he DOES try to do any kind of morphing skullduggery, he's outted instantly because he can't sell an act for poo poo.

Are you referencing Tobias's fake cousin

SardonicTyrant
Feb 26, 2016

BTICH IM A NEWT
熱くなれ夢みた明日を
必ずいつかつかまえる
走り出せ振り向くことなく
&





Radio Free Kobold posted:

I bet he does. I mean, he hits basically every other item on the "lovely Boss" checklist.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The Encounter-Chapter 21

quote:

"What is he doing here?" Cassie asked in a low, frightened whisper.

<I guess he just came to oversee this trip. Maybe it was because they let that guy get away.>

"He's here to kick butt on his boys," Marco said, trying to sound tough. "They screwed up and-now he's here to make sure they don't do it again."

<It doesn't really matter why he's here,> I pointed out. <He's here. And there are extra HorkBajir and the whole crowd is way nervous. One of the Hork-Bajir Draconed a deer that just happened to be walking by.>

"A deer?" Cassie cried. "Those stupid jerks. Deer never hurt anyone."

<The plan was for you to sneak down to the water, morph as soon as you got there, and head out for the ship's water-intake pipe,> I reminded them. <It was always a dangerous plan, but now it's impossible. Four of you walking down to the water, then morphing? That's not going to happen. Not as alert as these guys are now.>

"Not with Visser Three-hanging around," Marco agreed.

"I disagree." It was Rachel. "I think we should still try this. Look, if we pull this off, if we manage to get inside that ship and disable the cloaking device while they're over the city . . . this whole thing will be over."

Jake jumped in to support her. "We've always said, if there was just some way to show the world what was happening . . . well, this is the way. This would be way too big for the Controllers to cover up. I don't care what they are. Even if the mayor and the governor and the entire police force were Controllers, they couldn't cover up something like this."

<Jake, you're not listening. I'm telling you: There is no way you four can cruise down to the lake. You'll be dead before you take five steps!>

For a while no one spoke. It was Cassie who finally broke the silence. "There may be a way," she said. "See, a fish can survive out of water for a couple of minutes. And the fish we're morphing is small." She looked at me. "Small enough for a red-tailed hawk to carry."

Well. That idea got everyone's attention, I can tell you.

"Excuse me?" Marco shrilled. "Are you saying you want me to not just morph into a fish, but to morph into a fish out of water and then be carried through the air by a bird?"

Cassie bit her lip. "I'm just saying it could work."

"It would work," Jake said. He and Rachel exchanged a slightly insane look that said, "Okay, let's try it!"

<No way,> I said. <You guys are-crazy. No offense, but this raises the danger level way beyond what it was to start with.>

"I know it's dangerous," Jake said. "But we may never get a chance this good."

Marco whined. I argued. But in the end it was three against two. Besides, Jake was right: We had a chance to seriously mess up the Yeerks.

I have watched Marco morph into a gorilla, Rachel become an elephant and a shrew and a cat, Cassie become a horse, and Jake become a tiger and a flea (man, was that weird!). But this was the first time anyone had tried morphing into an animal that lived in water.

Cassie insisted on going first. "It was my idea," she pointed out. She did not point out that she was also the best morpher.

"If you feel like you're suffocating, you have to back out of the morph," Jake told her. He took her hand. "Are you listening to me? You have to back out if it gets bad. You can't pass out halfway into a morph."

Cassie smiled. "I will. Don't worry about me."

She closed her eyes and began to concentrate.

I've told you that Cassie is always the best at controlling a morph. She has an almost artistic talent, where she can make it all look kind of cool and not so gross.

But not this time.

As I watched, her hair disappeared completely. Her skin began to harden, like it was coated with varnish or something. Like she had been dipped in clear plastic.

Her eyes swung around to the side of her head. Her face bulged out into a huge mouth that gaped and seemed to be blowing invisible bubbles.

As this happened, she was shrinking. But not fast enough. I could still see every nightmare change in her body. The way her legs shriveled up, smaller and smaller, till her legless body fell to the ground.

From her lower back her body stretched out, elongated.

"Ooohhh!" Rachel cried.

A tail had just suddenly spurted from Cassie's behind. A fish tail.

Now her varnished-looking skin cracked and split into a million scales.

Her ears were gone. Her arms were shriveling. She was no more than two feet long, lying helpless, a monster, on the floor of the cave.

<So far I'm fine,> she said, but her thought-speech was shaky. <Still . . . breathing . . . with my lungs.>

But at that moment, two slits appeared in her neck.

Gills.

<Aaaah!> she cried.

"Cassie, pull out of it!" Jake cried in an urgent whisper.

<No. No. Almost done. Tobias . . . >

<I'm ready,> I said grimly.

She was tiny now. Less than a foot long. All that was left of her human body were two very tiny doll hands. They made little fins.

Cassie flopped wildly. Her mouth gasped silently.

Morphing is pretty straight up body horror, and for those of you who read these books as kids, do you remember how you felt about the morphing descriptions?

quote:

"Go!" Jake said.

I closed careful talons around Cassie's squirming fish body, aimed for the small sliver of sky that I could see through the cave's opening, and flapped my powerful wings.

I burst out of the cave into fresh air.

<Are you okay, Cassie?>

<Fish mind . . . panicky . . . water. Water now!>

<Hang in there. You've been through this before. You know how it is when you first go into a morph. You have to get control of the fish's instincts.>

<Water! Water! I can't breathe!>

I was about ten feet up, racing for the water's edge. Suddenly, below me, a Hork-Bajir. He looked up and saw me. A bird with a fish in his talons.

I doubted the Hork-Bajir would realize that red-tails don't catch fish. At least I hoped he wouldn't.

I swooped down over the water. The huge Yeerk ship was just lowering its intake pipes into the water. I dropped behind a stand of trees that hugged the shoreline.

<Get ready!> I warned Cassie. I Jet her go like one of those old World War Two planes dropping its torpedo.

She hit the water with a small splash.

<Are you all right?>

No answer.

<Cassie! I said, are you all right?>

<Y-y-yeah,> she said at last. <I'm here.>

<Are you dealing with the fish okay?>

Again, no answer. Then, <Whoa. Cool! I'm underwater!>

I relaxed. <Yes, you sure are underwater,> I said with a laugh.

<I was scared,> she admitted. <I . . . I know this sounds crazy. But I just keep seeing myself. Fried. With a wedge of lemon and some tartar sauce. >

i shouldn't be doing this before dinner, because now I'm hungry.

Sjs00
Jun 29, 2013



I knew this was going to happen. The alternative was the kids get into the lake an hour beforehand and breath through reeds

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers

i do like the analogy of a torpedo bomber

disaster pastor
May 1, 2007



Grimey Drawer

The kids don't yet fully grasp the sunk cost concept. They had a bad plan to start with, it's now (always was, really) too dangerous to do, so instead of keeping out of sight and writing this one off, they're... sticking to the plan besides one equally dangerous change.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

disaster pastor posted:

The kids don't yet fully grasp the sunk cost concept. They had a bad plan to start with, it's now (always was, really) too dangerous to do, so instead of keeping out of sight and writing this one off, they're... sticking to the plan besides one equally dangerous change.

To be fair, most adults don't fully grasp the sunk cost concept.

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016

GEORGIE?


Epicurius posted:

To be fair, most adults don't fully grasp the sunk cost concept.

Animorphs is really a collection of Stuff That Adults Don't Get, But Should.
Like war being bad and messing people up permanently, and the natural world being awesome...

Avalerion
Oct 19, 2012



Lucky that Hork-Bajir is dumb and didn't shoot.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



quote:

"Okay, so now what?" Marco asked. "Do I sneak into the mall without Rachel being able to see me, or do we all sit around and play Doom?"

"I have homework," Jake said. "And trust me, Marco, if Rachel sees you at the mall making faces while she's on the balance beam, she will turn into an elephant and stomp you."

Marco winced. "Remember the good old days when all a girl could do to you was call you names?"

I flew off, leaving them to play video games or do homework, or however they ended up killing time. Either way, it wasn't something I could participate in.

It's kind of a shame, really. With my eyesight and the reaction time I have, I could probably be major competition in Doom.

But joysticks and control pads aren't made for talons.

I always liked this bit. I think this was the first work I found in any medium that had children just play videogames for fun, with nobody chiding or belittling them for it (including the narration), or starting a moral panic over it. Especially Doom, at the time.

This series felt much more realistic and grounded in the real world than YA I'd read up to that point, and not only thanks to the real-world brand namedrops.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Avalerion posted:

Lucky that Hork-Bajir is dumb and didn't shoot.

Lucky it was a Hork-Bajr controller and not a Human one, who might have knowledge about what proper behavior is for hawks.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

https://twitter.com/obviousplant_/s...4594891776?s=19

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

red bird


Please, god, someone tweet that at Michael Grant. He has to see this.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Cursed images aside, it's time for

The Encounter-Chapter 22

quote:

Jake was next. He morphed and I flew him over the heads of two patrolling Park Rangers who did not even seem to notice me.

Then came Marco. When I exited the cave with him I practically ran into a big Hork-Bajir. He didn't take any notice of me, either.

Cassie's plan was working. Even with all the Controllers on maximum alert, it never occurred to them that their enemy might be a bird with a fish in its talons.

Back in the cave, it was just Rachel.

<So far so good,> I said.

"Yeah. I guess so."

<Are you nervous?>

"I'd have to be crazy not to be nervous. Oh well. Here goes."

She started to morph. I'd seen three others do it now, so it wasn't a surprise to me. But it was still horrifying to watch a friend, someone you cared about, twist and deform and mutate before your eyes.

I don't think any of us will ever get used to morphing. Maybe the Andalites are used to it. I don't know. But I'll bet it creeps them out, too, when they have to change.

I looked away as Rachel began to get strange and hideous.

She was almost completely a fish when it happened.

Crash! Crash! Someone was forcing their way through the bushes at the mouth of the cave.

"Heffrach neeth there." A Hork-Bajir!

"Yes, I see it," a human voice said grumpily. "You know, these human bodies aren't blind. Just because you're in a Hork-Bajir, don't get delusions. Use those blades of yours to hack some of these thorns out of the way."

I heard a sound like fast machetes, slicing away the vines and thorns.

"Better not find anything in here," the human-Controller said. "The Visser will do to you what was done to that poor fool yesterday who let the human
escape."

I looked at Rachel. It was too late for her to morph back.

<What's going on?> she asked.

<Yeerks! A human-Controller and a Hork-Bajir-Controller, right outside the cave.>

"Go in fergutth vir puny body. Ha ha."

"This was your sector to check. You didn't even notice this cave. Keep getting on my nerves and I'll tell him!"

"He gulferch you and eat your lulcath. Ha ha."

Suddenly a human head appeared, followed by shoulders. He was wearing a Park Ranger's outfit.

<We have to make a break for it!> I told Rachel. <Here they come!>

"Yeah, there's a cave in here, all right. There's some kind of a bird - "

I grabbed Rachel, now fully in fish morph. But the human-Controller blocked the narrow entrance.

Well, I thought. It worked with a helicopter . . .

With a rush of wings I flew right at his face.

"What the - " He fell back, beating at the air.

I scraped past him.

The Hork-Bajir slashed at the air with one of his wrist blades. He shaved an inch off my tail.

But I was in the air now, and moving faster. Only it was hard with Rachel, The weight of a fish is more than a red-tail can carry easily. And I had already carried three. I was tired.

Fortunately, I was also very scared. Fear can make you strong sometimes,

Ssseeeewww!

A Dracon beam sizzled the air above me!

Unfortunately for the Hork-Bajir who had fired, the Dracon beam did not stop when it buzzed by me. No, the Dracon beam hit the underside of the vast truck ship. A small, neat, round hole appeared in the bottom of the ship. It was too small to amount to anything.

But suddenly the Hork-Bajir lost his interest in me.

"Fool!" the human-Controller cried. "Visser Three will have your head for dinner!"

I like these guys. We need more conversations between low level Yeerks.

quote:

While they were busy panicking, I dropped Rachel into the water with the others.

<Good work, Tobias,> Jake said. <Be careful up there, my friend.>

<You, too,> I said. <Good luck, you guys.>
I could just barely see them, a small school of fish in the shallows. They swam off and disappeared into deeper water.

As I've told you, there are limits to how far thought-speech can reach. We don't really know what those limits are. But I wanted to stay as close to them as I dared, in case they needed me. Not that there was much that I could do to help someone underwater.

I didn't want to stay right over them. I figured that would look suspicious to anyone on shore. It was hard to figure out what to do. The monstrous bulk of the truck ship was overhead, leaving only a few feet open above the surface of the water.

I decided I had to chance it. I flew under the ship, skimming the dappled water below and practically scraping the metal belly of the ship above me.
It was a very difficult flight. I had to stay almost totally level. I couldn't rise or fall by more than a couple of feet.

<You guys still okay?>

<Tobias? I can't believe you can still thought-speak with that whole ship between us,> Rachel said.

I guess I could have told her the truth. That I was within a few feet of them. But then Jake would have just gotten all mad and told me not to take stupid risks.

I figured that between the time it had taken through the entire morphing process, and carrying them one at a time to the water, plus now the time spent swimming out to the big intake pipe, Cassie had been in morph for just over half an hour. Jake had ten minutes more, then Marco and Rachel.

<What are you guys doing now?> I asked.

<We're looking at the bottom of this intake pipe. There's tremendous suction,> Rachel reported.

<I'll go first and look around. See what's what,> Jake announced. <Here goes. Whoooaaaaa! Man! Whooooaaa! Yah!>

<Jake! Jake, are you okay?> Cassie cried.

<Oh, yeah! What a rush! They should have a waterslide like that at The Gardens. It's like being sucked up a straw by a giant.>

<Cool,> Rachel said. <I'm next.>

<No, let me look around first,> Jake said. <I seem to be in some kind of big tank. It's not very deep. At least not yet. It's filling up. With these lame fish eyes I can't see beyond the surface of the water very well. But I think up in the ceiling there's an opening. Like a grate or something.>

<Up on the ceiling? How are we going to get up there?> Marco asked.

<Well, I think if they fill this whole tank, we'll be near the top eventually. We should be able to morph to human, let ourselves out, then morph into something more dangerous than our human bodies.>

<Excuse me,> Marco said. <But does anyone else ever stop to realize that some of the things we talk about doing are totally INSANE?>

<What? Turning into fish, so we can be carried by a hawk and let ourselves be sucked up the pipe of an alien spaceship, so that we can then turn into tigers and gorillas and whatever, and overpower the creepy aliens?> Rachel said. <Is that what you mean by insane?>

<That's it exactly.>

<Yep,> Rachel said. <It is insane.>

<Well, okay,> Marco said. <As long as we all know we're nuts. Let's do it!>

Yep. It's not entirely rational.

QuickbreathFinisher
Sep 28, 2008

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


Epicurius posted:

The Encounter-Chapter 21
Morphing is pretty straight up body horror, and for those of you who read these books as kids, do you remember how you felt about the morphing descriptions?

I don't think I processed just how much of a horror show it was as a kid, or if I did I mostly thought it was cool because I was a 10 year old boy and thought gross poo poo was cool. There was a lot of gross-out themed toys and stuff around in the late 90s as well, so I think this blended in well enough with that whole genre. I remember I had a book all about gross stuff that had fake rubber vomit attached to the cover.

I like to think that among other things, this series informed my deep love of body horror and practical effects, but on reread as an adult I remember being taken aback by how visceral and disgusting some of the transformations, and especially some of the battle scenes and injuries these kids sustain, are. I'm reading ahead in my physical copies I just found, because a chapter a day just wasn't enough for me. This book contains a preview of the next one in which they morph dolphins and immediately attack a group of sharks, and Marco basically has his tail severed and hanging by a thread. They start panicking because they're in the open ocean...

The ads in the back of the book are funny, I'll post pics of some later and anything else I find as I'm reading through the physical copies. I think I left a lot of the included merch intact. I forgot about the cute little morphing flipbook in the corner

Avalerion
Oct 19, 2012



Epicurius posted:

Lucky it was a Hork-Bajr controller and not a Human one, who might have knowledge about what proper behavior is for hawks.

They shot that deer, figure they were told to assume any animal is a potential andalite at this point.

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

red bird

Avalerion posted:

They shot that deer, figure they were told to assume any animal is a potential andalite at this point.

Also deer, Andalite, you're about 75% of the way there already, just saying...

Ednamamame
Dec 12, 2019


No wonder Visser Three has to come smack his boys around. His underlings are dumb.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers

Oh god, incompetent henchmen shooting their own ship is just precious

biracial bear for uncut
Jun 9, 2009

ask me about being the most obnoxious person of all time

They're basically Futurama Killbots, yeah.

Daikloktos
Jan 1, 2020



Hork Bajir have better vision than humans? I don't know that that tracks, though I guess the Arn could have juiced then any which way

Grammarchist
Jan 28, 2013



Imagine accidentally shooting your own ship and having your host constantly needling you in the background for it. It's like that one memory that always makes you wince and shake your head to get rid of it, only the brain you're living in is constantly bringing it up out of spite.

Ytlaya
Nov 13, 2005

I TRUST JOE BIDEN AND THE DEMS


I think that Jake is actually a considerably more interesting character than many people make him out to be. I get the impression that he's constantly under a lot of pressure to organize this group of teenagers but doesn't really feel comfortable in that role, and this leads to things like the scene where he gets kind of irritated and tells people to stop debating the fish plan.

It reminds me of the feeling I get when I'm trying to work with people on something and I know that nothing will get done if someone doesn't step up to make decisions. Like I'm not particularly comfortable taking charge, but there will be consequences if no one does.

I forget how future books go, but I'd anticipate that this sort of position would lead to some level of "emotional isolation" from the rest of the team, where the need to take responsibility overshadows the desires of the teenager/friend.

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Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers

Yes, and it's telling when late in the game, Cassie says to him "we still need you," when hes borderline catatonic, because she knows that's the only thing that will reach him

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