The idea that the Lions mirror their paladins in significant ways is usually applied to virtues that they have, but it’s something I think is noteworthy to consider that… personality is a mixed bag. If the Lions and paladins are similar, it’s likely that the Lions don’t just seek out someone with corresponding virtues, but also corresponding conflicts as well.
I’ve discussed before that Black and Shiro both appear to be dealing with trauma, to the point that it would seem like Black’s response to Zarkon’s presence is quite likely something like a panic attack.
And then I thought about Red.
People compare Keith and Red in terms of being brash and headstrong but a very major element of Keith’s character is his relationship with isolation and abandonment. Feeling like he’s losing people he cares about.
Red is the only Lion we know of that was captured by the Galra. It’s possible Blue was if I’m right in my theory that Blue carried Keith to Earth, but it’s also possible the Blade found her before the Empire did. Either way, Yellow, Green, and Black were still safe on their respective planets and the Galra had just found Blue on Earth.
Do you agree that Jesus isn't god and that he never claimed to be god. He's just a prophet of god..?
The Bible never records Jesus saying the precise words, “I am God.” That does not mean, however, that He did not proclaim that He is God. Take for example Jesus’ words in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” We need only to look at the Jews’ reaction to His statement to know He was claiming to be God. They tried to stone Him for this very reason: “You, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:33). The Jews understood exactly what Jesus was claiming—deity. When Jesus declared, “I and the Father are one,” He was saying that He and the Father are of one nature and essence. John 8:58 is another example. Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth … before Abraham was born, I am!” Jews who heard this statement responded by taking up stones to kill Him for blasphemy, as the Mosaic Law commanded (Leviticus 24:16).
John reiterates the concept of Jesus’ deity: “The Word [Jesus] was God” and “the Word became flesh” (John 1:1, 14). These verses clearly indicate that Jesus is God in the flesh. Acts 20:28 tells us, “Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” Who bought the church with His own blood? Jesus Christ. And this same verse declares that God purchased His church with His own blood. Therefore, Jesus is God!
Thomas the disciple declared concerning Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus does not correct him. Titus 2:13 encourages us to wait for the coming of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ (see also 2 Peter 1:1). In Hebrews 1:8, the Father declares of Jesus, “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.’” The Father refers to Jesus as “O God,” indicating that Jesus is indeed God.
In Revelation, an angel instructed the apostle John to only worship God (Revelation 19:10). Several times in Scripture Jesus receives worship (Matthew 2:11; 14:33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38). He never rebukes people for worshiping Him. If Jesus were not God, He would have told people to not worship Him, just as the angel in Revelation did. There are many other passages of Scripture that argue for Jesus’ deity.
The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that, if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). A created being, which Jesus would be if He were not God, could not pay the infinite penalty required for sin against an infinite God. Only God could pay such an infinite penalty. Only God could take on the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21), die, and be resurrected, proving His victory over sin and death. Only God.
MBC labour union is preparing for the biggest strike in 5 years. September 1 is the D-Day. It is mostly journalist department that will lead the strike against the MBC president and board of directors, but drama and variety show directors will join them, too.
The King in Love (왕은 사랑한다) is a pre-produced drama, so the strike won’t affect its broadcasting schedule. However, upcoming MBC dramas like Hospital ship (병원선) will be likely to be affected. MBC variety shows like Infinite Challenge (무한도전) and I live alone (나혼자 산다), Radio Star (라디오 스타) as well.
p.s. KBS journalists and producers also start their own strike. It means, two of the 3 main broadcasters in South Korea will be on strike this September. KBS dramas will be severely affected, too.
Hanzo probably looks vaguely uncomfortable/guilty every time Genji hangs around him and makes brotherly gestures now bc he’s still riding the “oh my god i tried to kill my baby brother i cannot be forgiven for that” train that returned with a vengeance when Genji reappeared.
Hanzo has a lot of stuff to work through. Genji’s had 10(?) years to look back on the event and what happened and who he is now and come to terms with it and forgive. Hanzo was basically hit with a feels truck + paradigm shift when Genji reappeared into his life so he’s pro ba b ly reliving the consequences of what he did pretty hard all over again.
Anyways, I’m p sure Genji just aggressively wants his big brother to be his big brother again
This fic is for Jasmin @pmvstump! Basically, Patrick is an angel who’s trying to find his Purpose (how he brings joy) in the world! Please like/rb if you enjoy it and tell me what you think!
It was a sweltering day in Wilmette, probably the hottest it had ever been. Swarms of people wearing t-shirts and loose khaki shorts ducked into and out of the shops that neatly lined the road, hastening to find scraps of cool air. They all moved in a lazy, exhausted fashion, as if the heat was physically pressing down on them, as if God themself was sitting on the suburb. Nevertheless, a young man clad in ripped blue jeans and a navy blue hoodie strode quickly, head down, across the street. His hair, the color of wet sand, was swept back into a baseball cap fairly unsuccessfully, as strands of it fell into his face. He made sure to keep his eyes glued to the asphalt to prevent attracting anyone’s attention, which he had the tendency to do. And so he stared at the boiling blacktop, watching the heat rise in sleepy coils, until his ambling thoughts were disrupted by a hard shove.
“Hey! Watch where you’re going, kid!” exclaimed a rather large, round man who bore a striking and unsettling resemblance to a Red Delicious apple. The boy, startled, glanced up from his intent gaze on the ground. As soon as his eyes connected with those of Apple Man, the whole world seemed to melt away. The boy’s eyes were nebulae, fireworks against the pitch darkness of infinite space. They held at their center a rich aqua green, plucked straight from the foaming ocean, which faded out into a ring of sky blue; the exact shade of the sky on a day where the clouds dance and heaven seems close enough to touch. The boy didn’t have to say a word. His eyes radiated enough power to express “I’m sorry” and “No, I’m not” and every other existing emotion all at the same time.
“I… uh… I…” managed Apple Man, before quickly turning back to his conversation with his equally apple-esque wife.
The boy pulled the acrylic glasses (which, of course, he didn’t actually need) from his hoodie pocket and slid them onto his face. He really did hate looking humans straight in the eye, but his glasses were just so bulky and he loathed wearing them, even if they did protect the humans. THEY had warned him many times the damage eye contact did to mortals. “זמר, מביא אור”, he had been scolded the first time this had occurred, maybe a couple millennia ago, “You mustn’t ever look a mortal directly in their eyes. If you do, they will either fall helplessly in love with you, or die”.
Of course, In 2001 America, the boy didn’t go by זמר, מביא אור anymore— he hadn’t for some twelve centuries. His new name, the one that had been chosen by THEM, was Patrick Stumph.
Panicked now, Patrick ducked into the nearest shop, not bothering to read the awning above the door, which happened to have spelled out upon it “Borders Bookstore” in faded, white lettering. A bell produced a tinny jingle, one that seemed just as exhausted as the world outside, as Patrick shoved open the door.
“Hello,” said a lanky woman sitting at the checkout desk in a monotone voice, “Welcome to Borders. Is there anythi—“
“No, sorry. I mean, thanks. I mean, I can do this. I’ve got it. Thank you,” stuttered Patrick, without even turning his gaze toward her. He sped, eyes lowered once again, through rows upon rows of books: vapid romance stories for middle aged women, young adult fantasy novels, children’s picture books about anthropomorphic animals making poor decisions. Usually he would love to take all day exploring what the humans had “discovered” recently and what were hot topics in their society, but now was not the time. He stopped abruptly, slightly winded, at a sign that read: “Non-Fiction: 1) Biographies 2) Science and Nature 3) Music”.
“No dude, Neurosis isn’t just metal… they’re like, hardcore punk doom metal or something”. Patrick glanced over at the speaker, a young man in a Metallica t-shirt, perhaps Patrick’s human age.
“No way!” countered his friend, a thin, short-ish, awkward looking boy with a mess of chocolate curls adorning his head, as he flipped nonchalantly through a book, “Neurosis is, like, avant garde sludge metal with British Invasion punk influence! You can totally hear, like, The Smiths in there!”
Without realizing it, Patrick had begun to walk towards the bickering pair, and before he could stop himself, blurted “Actually, Neurosis is hardcore doom metal and avant-garde sludge metal. They’re both. They defy genre classification, really”.
Both boys stared at Patrick as if he were an alien (which, by the human definition, he sort of was). Then, the taller one spoke: “Dude… you’re totally right! See, this guy knows what the hell he’s talking about!”
The curly-haired boy rolled his eyes, and shrugged. “I guess,” he said, crossing his arms and looking Patrick up and down.
Patrick winced at his own idiocy. Fuck. Why did he have to insert himself into this conversation? And why did it still feel like it was the right thing to do?
Truthfully, Patrick hadn’t been bluffing about Neurosis. Music had fascinated him first when he heard Louis Armstrong play the trumpet in a jazz club back in 1922. He spent the next seventy-nine years studying American music, from jazz and soul to punk and screamo. He knew just about every artist, when they existed, and what genre they played. Recently, he had become very interested in the underground hardcore scene and how it related to the American youth’s pent up aggression towards their government and their elders. He was even a part of a few bands, drumming for all of them.
After a seemingly eternal silence, Patrick mumbled “Well… I better be going now… y’know, books and stuff…”
“No, wait,” said the curly-haired boy, causing Patrick to freeze in his tracks. “Do you play? Music, I mean?”
“Uh, yeah,” said Patrick, “I play drums” and, as an afterthought: “Also I sing, sometimes”.
“You play guitar?”
“You have one?”
“Well, uh…” the curly-haired boy trailed off, clearly searching for the right words. “My friend and I were thinking of starting a band, y’know, and we’re holding auditions on Saturday. You should come! Me and Pete, we’d love to—”
“Yeah, my friend. Pete Wentz. Heard of him?”
Patrick’s eyes widened. Who in the Chicago underground scene hadn’t heard of him? Pete Wentz was the debonair prince of punk in Chicago hardcore, the bassist for Arma Angelus, among other bands, and the absolute coolest dude you could ever hope to meet. If you wanted to make it big in music, you needed someone like Pete.
“Yeah, rings a bell, I think,” Patrick said coolly, attempting to play off how star- struck he was and failing miserably. “Sure, I’ll come. You got a drum set there?”
“Yeah. But bring your acoustic. I wanna hear you sing.”
“But… I’m a drummer,” Patrick protested weakly.
“Just bring your acoustic, okay?”
Patrick reluctantly nodded, fearing his chance to meet Pete Wentz would vanish if he didn’t.
“Cool. See you around, then”. The boy and his friend started to leave, but he turned around abruptly.
“Joe Trohman, by the way,” he said, holding out his hand.
“Um… Patrick Stumph,” said Patrick, reaching to shake it.
“Patrick,” said Joe, seemingly pleased. “See you on Saturday”.
[I’m back! There was a great ask from @the-next-narmis about physics majors at Elsewhere, which prompted this because a) Elsewhere U is an amazing concept and b) my brain is a hellhole that Will Not Stop. In addition to being a statistics major (whom you might remember from That Big Post About Statistics Majors) I’m also a physics major, because I enjoy math and suffering. As such, here’s one physicist’s perspective on the university.]
Ah, physics. Catalyst of the modern age. Not a bad major to pick at Elsewhere, to be honest. It’s the hard science brother of mathematics; there are more jobs that it’ll give you a leg up in than math, but the cost is that people expect you to actually be useful. The curriculum is solid and well-taught, as with every other subject offered.
The department, like most, has its own rules alongside Elsewhere’s usual traditions. Set the Newton’s Cradle going again if you pass it and it’s at rest; don’t go into the ice labs without a partner and a box of matches. What few safety protocols you learned in high school or at your old university will not be enough to protect you here. Trust your peers, but show them no mercy if their actions put you in danger.
Physics as a discipline tends to be of little interest to the gentry; they greet human laws with chittering laughter, regardless of what those laws may pertain to, and the world outside the Elsewhere fails to hold their interest. Most students find this comforting, taking solace in the fact that they’re so bland that they get passed over in favour of bright music majors or brooding poets. The exception is, of course, quantum physics; where Newtonian physics is more clear-cut and definite, quantum physics is a probabilistic snarl of unreality that They love to use as an inroads into your mind. Extra wards are always advised for anyone taking papers with quantum theory in the syllabus, particularly 231 and 331, and never forget that the words “unified field theory” are both an invocation and a curse.
A key bonus to being a physicist is that we have some of the sickest trade trinkets around. I bought a 20 pack of plastic rattlebacks when I went home for Christmas and man it’s easy to bargain when the person you’re offering one to can’t figure out how it works; They have the physics knowledge of your average eight-year-old and just as much fascination with bottle tornadoes. If you keep your choice of toy different from your classmates’, you essentially have a captive market.
Befriend the math majors. You’ll be in their classes anyway, at least until third year, thanks to the overlap between your subjects; they’ll help you when the integrals of a Gaussian surface make you want to cry, and the price of that help is always lower for people they see as being one of them. Math is your greatest asset here, so stay on top of it. I can’t count the number of wily kids who’ve bargained their way out of trouble with Euclid’s algorithm, though be warned that They are vengeful if They think you’re trying to trick Them (math is so arcane to Them that They can’t tell whether you are, and it agitates Them something fierce).
Elsewhere’s campus is essentially a giant panic attack for a physicist, so I would advise against studying it too closely. Oh, there’s plenty of mystery to be had should you choose to pursue it: the mind-bending spacetime issues down in the library sub-basements, the fact that They seem to just waltz all over the law of conservation of energy, the way the pressure of the diving pool refuses to obey a linear relationship with its depth. Word from the stats majors has it that we’re second for “most counselling sessions per student”, trailing the English majors by a fair margin, and they’re currently investigating an in-group split between those of us who chase extracurricular research and those who have more normal hobbies. Should this path call you, speak quietly of your theories and choose your confidants carefully; They hate being quantified as much as They hate change and iron and salt. A handful of jealously-guarded google docs are the only remnants of the team who were looking into whether rare-earth magnets hurt Them more than regular iron, and it’s said the students who proposed that magic is simply a manipulation of quantum-level probabilities were never seen or heard from again after spring break.
When it comes time to choose a focus for your studies, the world is yours; each discipline has its own powers. Pick the one that drives you the most, the one you want to unpick until every aspect of it is laid bare at your feet, the one where every new discovery makes you howl victory against the infinite chaos of the universe. Astrophysics is as romantic a choice here as it is at other universities, and your knowledge of the planets and what lies beyond them will fascinate gentry and humans alike; keep the reclassification of Pluto as secret as you name, though, lest you upset Them. The laser labs are also popular, teaching the practice of harnessing sunfire itself and turning it to your will. Electronics will get you into bed with some of the engineers – physically or literally, it’s up to you – and the way your hair stands on end from the static is one of the best defences against unwanted attention this side of the mystical. Whatever you decide, it will be the right choice; so it has always been in the Elsewhere physics department.
Come hang out in our labs and workrooms, even if you’re not a physics kid! They’re pretty good about tours if you’re polite, and we could use some company while we re-rig the pendulum wall. Oh, and a piece of advice, freely given and passed up the years from Einstein himself: nothing happens until something moves.
Summary: Christened as the ‘Lady of the Beach’ by the townsfolk, lifeguard Maka “rescues” a vacationer she’s undeniably drawn to but who won’t share his name. As they get to know each other better and the long summer days give way, she finds herself wishing for the first time that the season and its love could stay. SoulxMaka
warnings: smut, language, vague mentions of drowning.
They’re standing on the beach. Maka wishes she could paint them in the moment: two dark brushstrokes against the infinite, smoldering horizon.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” he hums, squinting against the sun and looking sort of amazed. “Is that how you smile?”
Mind going blank with the serenity of the moment, Maka tilts her head. The dying light turns him into a half-silhouette with translucent hair. Sunsets glaze everything they touch with gilded beauty and he’s no exception - he’s impossibly nice to look at during this time of day, when the world holds its breath before sighing out darkness.
“That’s something you’re going to have to find out by yourself,” she finally responds, cheeks tingling
“Okay,” he says, nonchalant, “I have all summer.” Shaking hands makes their shy friendship official. His palm is soft, his fingertips calloused, and his grip firm, protective.
“I’m Maka,” she offers. “What’s your name?”
“That’s something you’re gonna have to find out for yourself, Miss Lifeguard.”
By the way his grin makes her nervous, she knows this is a challenge she can’t turn down. She’s drawn to him the way magnets slide toward one another when they’re within the right distance, steadily, fervidly. The collision will be glorious.
“Deal,” she agrees, wondering if he’s worrying his bottom lip because he can still feel her mouth over his.
She can only hope.
After all, summer has begun, and so has something else.
. . . “I don’t want to talk,” he responded matter-of-factly, staring down at you.
You were beginning to protest when all of a sudden his hands reached up to hold your face and his lips planted firmly against yours, cutting your words off completely. He stepped into you closer as the shock faded and you were finally able to kiss him back, one of his hands moving to your waist as he pulled you against him.
An infinite number of thoughts crossed your mind in a matter of seconds as he held you, gently pulling on your lip and deepening the kiss, making your knees weak. You hadn’t realized until this exact moment the feelings that you had for Chibs were deeper than just friends. You missed him while you were away and you loved being around him, but you never looked at him as more than your best friend until today. Now every touch, every smile, every memory of you two together was rushing back to your mind. You realized during that kiss that you loved Filip Telford. You wanted him; and you were frustrated that it had taken so long for you to realize it.
You moved your hands up to his chest, your fingers gripping the lapels of his light grey work shirt and pulling him even closer to you as his hands both moved to dip into the back pockets of your jeans and squeeze your ass tightly. Finally, he pulled away from the kiss, looking at you as you both panted heavily, breathless and excited.
“Ye shouldn’t be with tha’ Mayan….” he began, his thumb moving up to trace across your bottom lip, “because you should be mine.”
You looked up at him, your emotions taking the place of your logic as you stared into his beautiful brown eyes and you moved your arms to loop around his neck.
“Then take me,” you answered him, your fingers lacing themselves into the hair at the nape of his neck.
Chibs growled, lifting you and spinning around to place you on top of his toolbox as he pulled your shirt over your head and smashed his lips into yours. He moaned into your mouth when your hands went to his jeans, unbuckling his belt and working the button and fly as he did the same to you. He tugged your jeans past your knees as his fell to his ankles. You gasped as he ripped the fabric of your panties rather than pull them down and plunged your mouth into his neck, biting and sucking at his flesh while your hands massaged his erect member through his boxers.
“Fuck, lass,” he breathed, looking up at the ceiling and exposing more of his throat to you which you quickly covered in kisses as his hands traced your core, his thumb applying pressure to your clit as he rubbed circles around it, making you wetter than you had ever been before.
You wanted him. You wanted him terribly.
“Mmm, Filip,” you whispered against his ear, licking the outside of it when he dipped his finger into you, testing your entrance.
“D’you really want me, love?” he breathed in response, leaning back to take in your expression, searching for any signs of doubt.
“I want you, Filip,” you gripped the fabric of his mechanic shirt tightly, closing your eyes as you felt his boxers drop and his dick sliding up and down your folds.
This was it. This was happening.
Chibs pushed forward into you and you inhaled sharply at the full sensation he gave you. He pushed forward more before stilling himself inside you again, allowing both of you to get used to the feeling before he began thrusting slowly in and out of you, his fingers lacing in your hair as he pressed his lips into your shoulder and neck, inhaling your scent while your wetness enshrined him.
“I’ve wanted this for so long, (Y/N)… So long,” he whispered as he continued to thrust into you.
“Don’t hold back, baby,” you groaned as you gripped his ass, pulling his hips into you.
Chibs moaned, moving his hands down to grip the toolbox you were perched upon for leverage as he growled and began a quicker pace, his shaft filling you to the hilt and pushing into you deeper and faster than before. The small pants that had come from you before were now full-blown yelps, moans, and gasps ripping through your throat.
He felt so good inside of you, his cock hitting your G-spot repeatedly, his fingers massaging your clit, and his lips on your neck, all pushing you to the edge as you tossed your head back and groaned his name when you found your release. “Fuck! Yes! Filip!” you hoarsely shouted as your muscles convulsed and constricted around him and you lost your breath completely, gasping for air while he fucked you through your orgasm.
“Shite, lass, I’m gonna–”
He shook, his fingers digging into your ass while his body became rigid and he pulled himself from within you, spilling his seed onto the cold metal of the toolbox below as you both writhed with pleasure.
Chibs’ head fell against your shoulder and you felt him smile against your skin as you stroked the back of his head and kissed his cheek. He lifted his head and pressed his lips into yours, stepping back and pulling up his boxers and jeans before picking your jeans up and holding them in his grip, taking his place back between your legs and staring down at you.
“I should get back ta work,” Chibs sighed with a chuckle as he placed a kiss on your forehead before giving you a slight headbutt which made you laugh back, “I think I probably need to give Esai a call….” you smiled as you jumped down from his toolbox and kissed him quickly on the lips, pulling your jeans from his grip.
“Aye. I think ye should,” he winked, slapping you on the ass as you leaned down to pull your jeans back on, “let him know yer mine now.”
You had a feeling the peace with the Mayans wasn’t going to last much longer…
Short opinion: This is the best book. Not the best Animorphs book, just the best book of all time. Period.
This is one of those books where plot and character are difficult to sort out, because the plot is so character-driven and the characters are so influential to the plot that they are irreparably wrapped up in each other—and the entire story is driven by the protagonists’ agency. This book opens and closes on Jake’s dreams, and in that first dream sequence he’s this tiny, helpless human in the face of this ginormous cosmic power. I love that this scene draws attention to the fact that Jake first encountered Crayak under circumstances when he was literally the most helpless he’s ever been in his life: Jake is literally paralyzed because of the dying yeerk inside his brain when he suddenly finds himself facing down this malicious all-knowing deity. In that scene Jake describes himself as the “keeper” of his brother’s memories (Have I mentioned the Cain parallels recently?), foreshadowing both the fact that by the end of the book he’ll be the only being with Howler DNA or memories in the whole universe, and the fact that by the end of the series he’ll be the only being with Tom’s memories in the universe.
The next scene with the kids watching a production of Lion King (funny how that plot hinges on the villain killing his older brother…) in a way that makes them utterly themselves: Rachel is pretty much daring a guy to try and hit on her so she can release a little pent-up frustration on a harasser, Marco is pulling ridiculous stunts to get Jake to laugh, Cassie is totally zoned out because let’s be real she doesn’t give a crap about the fine arts, and Jake is enjoying the peace and quiet for a bit while also not giving a crap about the fine arts. When Ax shows up he’s totally confused but goes into hyper-protective mode toward his team anyway, and when Tobias pops up he figures out in two seconds flat what it took everyone else a few minutes to catch on to: this is the Ellimist at work.
One of my favorite subtle moments in the series is when Marco snarks at the Ellimist about the pinnacle of ketran evolution being the ability to look like a teenager with braces, and then almost immediately has a silent freak-out because he just sassed a divinity. I really love how Marco’s quick thinking gets him in trouble almost as much as it gets him out, and how it shows that even his clever one-liners are a coping mechanism rather than a calculated attempt to appear cool. His inability to get through a stressful situation without making dumb jokes literally almost gets the kids killed in #30 and #42, and here he has the good sense to realize that the Ellimist is the absolute last person he should be mocking—about ten seconds after he’s already gone and done it.
Also, Jake and Rachel’s relationship in this book is heartbreaking and awesome. When the kids first learn about the conflict with the Iskoort they’re understandably reluctant to get involved in yet another cosmic war but Rachel especially argues that they shouldn’t get themselves killed needlessly in a conflict that has nothing to do with the yeerks… Until Jake admits that Crayak has been harassing him in his dreams. Rachel does a one-eighty to “No Crayak space monster is gonna beat up on my cousin” the millisecond she finds out (#26). Marco also jumps sides of the argument immediately with an eye to defending Jake, and before they know it they’re already off to the races. Later on, just before the final battle, Rachel literally holds Jake in her arms in grizzly morph while he becomes a Howler for the first time, because she’s the only person Jake trusts to kill him without hesitation if he loses control of the morph. These two share a level of trust—Jake trusts Rachel to defend his life, but also more importantly to know when to end his life when the cost of defending it would be too high, and Rachel has exactly the same level of trust in Jake—that we don’t see with any other pair on the team. It goes way, way beyond their simple shared willingness to get their hands dirty; it’s about trusting each other with their lives but also with their deaths.
This is also the book where (if he didn’t already have it) Jake definitely earns the title of “war-prince.” Not only does he fight a battle against two infinitely more powerful beings and win, not only does he outmaneuver the most deadly alien species the kids ever face using the power of love, but he also plays the part of Team Mom throughout this nightmarish field trip while just as scared and lost as everyone else present. He takes the time to check on Cassie in the middle of the night while also terrified the Howlers will attack at any moment. He gently talks Marco down when Marco’s about to panic at the sheer foreignness of the situation. He not-so-gently calls Erek on the fact that Erek is lying by omission for large parts of this book. All the while he also weighs and balances everything he knows about the Howlers and the Iskoort, constantly gathering more information (frequently at risk to his own life, as with that awesome-nutso gambit with jumping off a cliff to acquire Howler DNA) until eventually he figures out the motivations of everyone else jerking him around. He describes himself as “an ant on a chessboard,” but that doesn’t mean he can’t learn how to play. By the end of the book he’s thinking on the same level as the Ellimist and Crayak, while also viscerally understanding the ordinary Howler or Iskoort. As Rachel’s bulletin board says: ’“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.’ - Sun Tzu” (#4).
Jake also verbally embraces the title of “prince” for the first (possibly only) time in the series during this book, twice ordering Ax to defend his own life against the Howlers. Jake doesn’t totally get andalite culture, evident in the fact that he’s not sure why Ax cares so much about having run from an unwinnable battle. But he also knows and understands (and cares about) Ax, enough so to grasp that what Ax needs is the reassurance of his prince that he didn’t do anything wrong. Jake has to practically step on Rachel’s toes to stop her from volunteering for the suicide mission (because of course) but he does it, aware that Ax will view this as a chance to reaffirm his place on the team and regain what “honor” he lost by running from the Howler. Jake is never comfortable with the leadership role, and least comfortable of all when someone puts a formal title on his leadership. However, he also understands that when Ax is literally ready to die in order to affirm his place on the team, the whole “prince” bit is not about him; it’s about helping Ax. And so he calls himself Ax’s prince, not once but twice, in order to save Ax’s life. Because it’s what needs doing in order to keep the team alive.
In addition to the spot-on characterization and the mind-bogglingly huge plot, this book also has some vicious commentary on philosophy of war. Marco actually calls Erek on the fact that, when the Animorphs are about to be slaughtered by a far more powerful enemy, Erek’s decision not to act is an action in and of itself. Maybe Erek doesn’t have a choice about not causing harm, even at the expense of preventing a murder, but Erek also sure as hell does not have the moral high ground. Pacifism is not a righteous course of action in the face of atrocity, and Erek standing by to watch his friends get slaughtered—knowing all the while that the entire Iskoort species also hangs in the balance—is not the moral high ground. Jake actually feels loathing for the Pemalites as he frantically flies back toward the hopeless battle that might have cost Cassie and Rachel their lives, thinking that he’ll never forgive them if they got his friends killed with their short-sighted, obsessive nonviolence when they programmed the Chee.
The social comment in this book isn’t a particularly comforting or comfortable one (but then when are they ever, in Animorphs books?) but it is an important message: that the world is an ugly place in which simple neutrality is the prerogative of the privileged. One cannot call oneself moral simply by standing by and refusing to fight back while evil triumphs (X). As Cassie points out to Jake, only slave owners and Nazis have ever had the luxury of branding entire groups of people as uniformly evil and one’s own cause as uniformly good (#26). In order to stop a terrible wrong, the kids have to commit a terrible wrong. The war is not won through anything as easy as standing on principle, because no lofty abstract principle ever works in 100% of cases in the real world. Erek is no better or worse than any of the kids because he is held to a certain standard of behavior by external constraints; even an idea as pure as “do no harm” does not stand up when one has the chance to stop genocide and cannot.
Crayak understands the idea better than the Pemalites did, when he designs the Howlers: the opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference (X). The Chee aren’t programmed to hate—or to love—any other species.
More specifically, this book also calls Erek out on his tendency to consider himself above the Animorphs because of his nonviolence. Erek is every bit as vengeful (bloodthirsty, even) as Ax or Rachel throughout this whole conflict, but he also refuses to acknowledge that fact. He conveniently forgets to mention the fact that the Howlers are innocent (relatively speaking) in their childish indifference to death and ignorance of failure until Jake also discovers that fact. Years before the Animorphs use Erek to do their dirty work in the fight against Tom’s yeerk, Erek uses them to do his dirty work through setting up the fight with the Howlers and letting them annihilate another species without even having all of the facts about who they’re fighting.
The motif is writ large throughout the series: war is won through sacrifice, and most of those sacrifices are not as clean or glorious as simply dying for one’s cause. Erek stands by, choosing to give up the fight after only one battle turns too ugly for his liking (#10), and as a result the entire species of Howlers gets wiped out by Crayak. As a result of his later actions, both Tom and Rachel get killed and the Blade ship remains free to conquer another planet (#53). And yet this is a being who (allegedly) never hurts anyone for any reason. Erek is self-righteous, vengeful, and morally hypocritical. That fact gets a little lost in books like #20, #32, or #45, but here Jake makes the contrast between his friends—who are running headlong into a deadly battle for the sake of some yeerk-descendants—and the Chee—who are forced to stand by and risk nothing with nothing gained—painfully clear.
This book offers no simple answers, and it shows that in war, there are no simple answers. However, it also ends with Jake surrounded by his friends, taking triumph from the fact that he’s just a helpless little human facing down a malicious all-knowing deity whose ass he just kicked. USING THE POWER OF LOVE. Have I mentioned that this is the best book ever written?
I speak in real time As head motions hand to write I’ve uncovered layers of Self the fog of years roll revealing slowly the nature of Now – Wrought appears at The edge of these grasslands Stops to eat with my hunger Along the walkways of a Furrowed homestead meditates with the whippoorwills in the Summer fauna all green against green The infinite gesture of life unfolds I hold myself in this cradle of thought As the wise abutilon sings to me.
Your eyes fluttered open as you felt the gentle press of Ashton’s lips against the hollow of your neck, his breath warm on your skin in the otherwise cool morning air. A smile spread over your face as you turned into his embrace a little more, capturing him in a soft kiss. “Morning,” You yawned once you’d broken apart. “Mornin’,” Ashton replied, rolling you over onto your back so he could hover slightly above you, balancing himself on his elbows.
Keeping his eyes locked on yours he grabbed the hem of the tank top you were wearing, lifting it up until it bunched just beneath your breasts. You stretched your arms back up above your head, smiling to yourself as you felt his fingers glide down between the valley of your breasts and over your stomach. You looked at him in worry though as you heard him gasp. “What’s wrong?” “I can feel it,” Ashton looked up at you, his eyes wide. “Your bump.” “Seriously?”
You pushed yourself up on your elbows, looking down to where Ashton’s hands were splayed out over your belly. Sure enough there was a barely there bump, a small pouch where your baby was growing.
“I didn’t notice it before,” You said, shaking your bed back and forth as you wondered how you missed it. “I love it,” Ashton whispered, leaning down until he could press kisses around your belly button. “That’s our baby in there.”
Luke was excited to see you, glad that you’d been able to take two weeks off of work so you could fly out and meet him. He’d been missing you and his jelly bean and you hadn’t been much better. Your hormone levels were wreaking havoc on all your emotions and if you weren’t yelling at the toaster for burning your toast you were sobbing over something mildly inconvenient. Right now there was nothing you were looking forward to more than being back in your husbands arms.
As soon as you were off the plane you were turning your phone back on, wondering whether Luke was here yet or not. Hopefully there wouldn’t be crowds of people hanging around him. You looked down as your phone dinged, a new message from Luke coming through.
- I see you ;)
A large smile crossed your face as you looked up and around, spotting Luke standing right near the doors, hands stuffed into his jeans. Hurrying forward you wrapped your arms around his neck, crashing your lips against his as his arms wound around your waist, holding you flush against his body. Luke pulled back immediately, your eyebrows raising in confusion as he slipped one of his hands just inside your open jacket, smoothing out over your belly. “That’s new,” He smiled, feeling the small swell under his touch. It wasn’t big enough for other people to pick up on yet but to you and Luke it was sign that baby Hemmings was growing.
You sighed happily as you shut off the water in the shower, the whole room warm from the steam, the air smelling exactly like your raspberry and vanilla body wash. There was nothing you enjoyed more than coming home after work and getting into the shower, letting the water wash away anything that had happened that day.
Stepping out onto the bath mat you grabbed your towel, beginning to dry yourself off when there was a knock at the door. Calum had basically moved into your apartment, adjusting fully to his role as baby daddy. Of course there was still a little tension after what Joy had said and your relationship was in no way as easy as it had been once, but the both of you were trying and that was the main thing.