Animorphs #8: The Alien, Chapters 9-11

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Chapter 9

To my sorrow, we’ve skipped over the actual awkwardness of Marco taking Ax to the bookstore and teaching him to read, in favor of picking up again a day later when Ax is out in the woods reading the World Almanac.  He’s cheerfully picking up all sorts of utterly useless trivia about things like the life span of the average sheep, but also observing with some concern how fast humans evolve technology, going from flight to space flight in a relatively short period of time.

(He’s also standing with one hoof in the water to drink, so I guess he was telling the truth before about absorbing his nutrients through his feet?  Not to be species-ist, Ax, but I’m kinda weirded out by that.)

Anyway, here’s Tobias, sent out to find Ax because everyone else needs to talk to him Right The Fuck Now, because I was right in the last chapter - Ax should not have screwed around with Marco’s dad’s work equations.  Apparently Ax accidentally invented several new ways to do astronomy, and a new branch of computer science, and Marco’s dad is flipping out about it.

Marco did some damage control by convincing his dad that Ax definitely just hit some keys by accident and is not some kind of astronomical genius, but that leaves the greater question that Rachel is keyed up about - what if the Yeerks get wind of a human just happening to suddenly invent a metric fuckton of advanced mathematics?  It’s gonna be a wee bit suspicious and paint a target on everyone’s back.

Ax is thrown for a loop by the realization that he just accidentally handed several major scientific advancements over to the humans, in violation of his Andalite code.  But he also is extremely interested in the mention of a “radio telescope” that Marco’s dad uses. If Ax could get his hands on a radio telescope, he could do some Handwavy Andalite Scientific Bullshit and rig up a way to send messages to his own world.

Rachel tries to call Ax on getting very weird all of a sudden, but he lies and says that he’s definitely not freaked out by or hiding anything!  No ma’am, not at all!  Meanwhile he’s busily pondering the fact that his duty to his people requires him to find a way to destroy the technological advances ASAP, but that perhaps “ASAP” could stand to wait a little while so that he can contact his family first.

(Um, Ax, even in the late nineties there were backups.  I’m pretty sure you can’t just march in there and delete one file and walk back what you did.  Your scientific advance is out there, buddy, that horse is not going back in that barn.  You might as well go ahead and send your parents an alien Snapchat, since the damage is already done.)

Chapter 10

After everyone else leaves and it’s dark enough to run around in the woods safely, Ax goes out for a bit of running around, dinner, and thinking about the situation he’s accidentally created. He’s so tied up in his own thoughts that he doesn’t even notice he’s getting dangerously close to Cassie’s house until he runs into her, in her horse morph.  Apparently Ax isn’t the only one who likes to go running around at night, although Cassie would like her use of horse morph for personal fun kept secret from Jake, who might disapprove.

Cassie asks how Ax’s research into humanity is going, and he tells her what he was thinking about earlier - that humans are sort of terrifying in their ability to advance technology quickly.  He thinks Yeerks aren’t after humans just to enslave them, but to stop them before they can amass enough technology to be a serious threat.  

They run into a conversational wall, though, when Cassie wants to know how fast Andalites developed technology compared to humans, and Ax goes all avoidant again.  Ax tries to explain that he doesn’t want to lie or hide information but that his oaths as an Andalite require him to avoid giving information about Andalites or their technology.  Cassie points out that Ax’s brother broke that law when he gave them morphing power, and Ax doesn’t have a great answer for that.  But “he was a prince and I’m basically still just a nerdy little kid who doesn’t have the authority to do things like that” ends the conversation for now.

Cassie, because she is too good for this world, too pure, a cinnamon roll of the highest order, pushes past her frustration and disappointment to see that Ax is lonely, and invites him to come in and meet her family.  Morphed into Jake form, to explain why he’s there.

Oh, Cassie, honey.  I was right there with you until that last bit, but I just don’t see this ending well.

Chapter 11

Ax’s Earth Diary, excerpt, summarized: “Earth music is terrible, but Earth food is great, A+ job cultivating the hot pepper, humanity.”

Back in the story:

Ax shows up for dinner in his Jake morph, which is zero surprise to Cassie’s family,, because Cassie and Jake and their adorable teen love are apparently a secret to absolutely no one.  Ax is very interested in observing human family dynamics and meeting Cassie’s parents, who have the expected number of arms and legs, so that all seems fine to him.

Ax ends up discovering spicy food (which he LOVES) and small talk (which he enjoys but is not particularly good at, spouting random factoids from the World Almanac), and he gets to watch some Earth TV.  It actually doesn’t go nearly as badly as I was expecting.  When Cassie walks “Jake” out after dinner, she offers him a new book to peruse.  It’s a collection of famous quotes, which surely will not in any way turn out to be a bad idea.  They debrief a bit on the subject of Cassie’s dad’s male pattern baldness and the Andalite equivalent, hooves getting dull with age.

Cassie tries to ask about Ax’s parents but he gets all choked up and sad about missing his family.  Cassie tells him that it’s okay to miss his home, and that all of the Animorphs care about him, even if Rachel and Marco are on the suspicious side.

Ax is not so good with Having Emotions right now, so he responds to this attempt at a heart-to-heart by morphing back into his Andalite form, awkwardly thanking Cassie for introducing him to chili, and then running away.

That’s…not unlike how social interactions tend to end for my awkward self, actually, so it’s pretty relatable.  “Excess of emotions - must escape!” is extremely sympathetic to me.  Poor Ax.  I mean, he should really just come clean about some stuff and also stop fucking around randomly with Earth stuff if he’s so worried about influencing humans, but still, I feel badly for the guy.

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Animorphs October: Confessions

“Mom, Dad. I have something to tell you.” Rachel announced as she walked into the living room and stepped in front of her parents.

“Oh? What’s up?” Her dad asked, raising an eyebrow. For eight years there had been approximately nothing that stood in front of his kid that wasn’t overcome and he was very interested in whatever obstacle had obviously just been defeated.

With hands on her hips and daring them to say anything against it, she told them what she had to say. “I’m a girl and I want you to call me Rachel.”

every animorphs book
  • chapter 1: my name is jake. I can't tell you my real name, because I'm the leader of a special group of kids... we're called the Animorphs. Because we morph into animals and fight aliens.
  • chapter 16: 'god, please don't do this,' i begged on my knees. Visser Three had all of my loved ones hanging from his claws in his multi-armed alien morph and was slowly squeezing the life out of them. 'you must either choose them, jake, or the rest of your planet.' i couldn't take it. i started to morph into a cockroach.
  • chapter 23: as i felt my own brain slither down my throat and into my torso to reform into my digestive system, my bones also began to dissolve into dust inside my skin. my eyes shrunk back into my skull and i could see into eternity- i could see my own mind, taken over by the yeerk. i had already taken my last breath as a free creature, now i saw my last vision as a being of this dimension. suddenly, i was gone. and my parents would never even know i had died. was saving the world worth this? i wondered, if anyone on this planet could be forced to prioritize one life over another, what choice would they make? how can any decision be right, or wrong? i closed my mind off, and fell into eternal sleep, my last echoes of thought being of how humanity continued to live on, but not truly alive.
  • chapter 26: 'hey, bro, wanna go to mc d's and grab some fries?' marco asked, riding by on his skateboard. 'yeah, that'd be totally radical!' i answered, whipping out my own razor scooter. as i pulled a nasty kickflip, i felt eyes watching me. turning around, i saw my own dog, and thought of the horrible truth only i knew. we went to the mall to get big macs. it was a good day to not be dead.

GUESS WE CAN PUT UP PAGES NOW!!! Here are the kids meeting m'dude ELFANGOR :,)

Even though I didn’t get the job, I can’t WAIT for an Animorphs comic!!! The books meant a lot to me growing up, and it’ll be amazing to see the comics inspire a new crop of kids to make their own stories!!! 

“People don’t understand the word ruthless. They think it means ‘mean.’ It’s not about being mean. It’s about seeing the bright, clear line that leads from A to B. The line that goes from motive to means. Beginning to end. It’s about seeing that bright, clear line and not caring about anything but the beautiful fact that you can see the solution. Not caring about anything else but the perfection of it.”

- Marco, Book #30: The Reunion, pg. 71 (by K.A. Applegate)

I think that one of the funniest things about the “Earth is a death planet and human’s are space orcs” posts and stuff is that that’s literally a major plot point in Animorphs. Like, the aliens in the series frequently comment on how there is just an extremely excessive amount animals with unique ways to kill or maim you on the planet, and that humans, despite looking fragile and weak in comparison, are scary as shit because they’re stubborn and ruthless and refuse to stop even when any sane species would have given up ages ago. Like there are aliens described as “walking salad shooters” with bladed spikes shooting out all over their bodies, and then you find out that all of that is just so they can harvest tree bark to eat and a whole army of them can be disabled by a single skunk. It is described in loving detail all the different ways a house cat can fuck you up, and don’t even get me started on actual predators and the damage they can do when a ridiculous stubborn, reckless, and creative human brain is what’s controlling them. The alien invaders comment about how they’re going to have to basically kill off 90% of earths species once they win the war because the planet is so damn excessive about this whole ‘murder animals’ thing, and sometimes they’re even like “you know, in hindsight, this is not nearly as easy as we assumed it would be”