i'm curious: do you think the animorphs could have won if they were adults? marco starts out as the only one with the maturity to understand death; it's sort of because the others don't have that understanding that they're so eager to fight. jake NEEDS to idealize past soldiers/leaders in order to keep himself, well, 'good', acting like he thinks they did, as much as he can. what do you think??
Interesting premise. Let’s suppose the Animorphs are five adults—thirty-three, let’s say, instead of thirteen—who encounter Elfangor as they walk home from where they were getting a few drinks at the local bar.
Suppose Marco is a smart-mouthed lawyer with more secrets and lies than genuine wins in his resume. Suppose Rachel works as a graphic designer for a fashion magazine by day, but she lives for the nights when she goes surfing in the moonlight swells off the California coast or skiing at breakneck speeds in the Canada Rockies. Suppose Tobias has been an adjunct professor at the local college for five years now and suspects he’s headed nowhere despite his Ph.D., whereas Jake is a high school dropout rocketing up through the ranks of his contracting firm thanks to his canny leadership skills. Suppose Cassie’s in night school so that she can continue as a vet tech, always exhausted and always telling herself it’s all worth it. Suppose they’re joined two weeks after the war begins by War-Prince Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill, who got his own self out from under the ocean without calling for help.
- The first thing the Animorphs do is fly north and tell the governor about the invasion. She calls the National Guard, the president, and the United Nations. Within a month, the yeerks have doubled their force on Earth and the two species are in open total war.
- The U.N. appoints a military commander to oversee the Animorphs, a five-star general with thirty years of combat experience. Jake and Ax both salute him and call him “sir,” but they’re the only ones. Cassie calls him by his first name when she asks about his family. Rachel and Marco hold side conversations in whispered thought-speak throughout his briefings. Tobias sits in the back of the room, either preening feathers or doodling on his intel packet depending on what form he’s in. Every time he gives them an order they thank him, leave the room, and then look at Jake to find out whether or not they should obey it.
- The war wears on for months, then years, and the humans lose steadily.
- Here’s the thing that it takes the U.S. and the U.N. a dangerously long time to adapt to: every time they lose a soldier, they lose every single scrap of intelligence contained within that soldier’s brain. Every single time they’re forced to leave a man behind, they lose every base that person has ever visited, every file that person has ever seen, every scrap of knowledge once kept secret in that brain. The humans start equipping their soldiers with cyanide capsules; the yeerks start gagging hosts the instant they’re captured.
- Here’s the other thing they don’t figure out until it’s too late: even hardened soldiers balk at shooting their own friends and neighbors and siblings. Even the ones with years of training will hesitate to shoot a child. The yeerks know this, and they take advantage.
- David is the son of the deputy director of the NSA, placed with the team in a blatant act of nepotism after he finds the morphing cube. Rachel gets dishonorably discharged in the aftermath of the “accident” that causes his death.
- Dissent starts to grow large within the ranks of the humans. Several believe that the yeerks come in peace; several more believe that the humans should stop fighting and negotiate a truce. There are still pockets of people who insist that there are no such thing as aliens, and the whole thing is made up to target certain types of people as “controllers.”
- The yeerks take the entire Eastern seaboard of the U.S. and Canada. There are simply too many people, too densely packed; the human military cannot protect those areas. The humans retreat to the Midwest and Mexico.
- Visser One gets put in charge of the invasion force, quietly moving Madra and Darwin offworld in the process. Marco and Rachel, acting against orders, infiltrate her base and kill her and nearly sixty other high-ranking controllers before they are themselves gunned down. The U.N. erects a statue in their honor, makes fifty other morph-capable soldiers to take their place, and keeps fighting.
- Jake and Cassie marry. She gets pregnant twice during the war, and knows that she can’t afford to keep either pregnancy. She never tells Jake about this. Later, they will divorce in the last weeks of the war.
- Visser Three once again takes over the invasion of Earth; he thrives at open war. He bargains and threatens and calmly assures the human forces that they will lose, and that there is only one way to avoid death. All they have to do is walk to the nearest yeerk compound, surrender, and let one of his warriors take away all their worry and pain.
- The human race is dwindling. There is no other way around it. The yeerks kill humans because they already have more hosts than they need, and the humans kill humans every time they succeed in bombing a yeerk base or shooting a controller. The species has already been decimated; everyone fears that within a decade it will be annihilated.
- The humans destroy a Blade ship. Forty humans and eighteen hork-bajir die.
- Visser Three gets revenge by turning his dracon canon on China’s east coast. Two hundred million humans die.
- The humans blow up a yeerk pool. Two hundred thirty-eight humans die.
- The yeerks blow up Rio de Janeiro. Twelve million humans die.
- So it goes.
- The human armies take refuge in Brazil and Argentina, in Tanzania and Angola and the DRC. The yeerks have control over the entire northern hemisphere. Communications between the two continents are constantly intercepted. Jake and Cassie and Ax go on mission after mission after mission, no one bothering to tell them what to do anymore. Tobias comes sometimes; more and more since Rachel’s death he’s nowhere to be found.
- Food runs short. Electricity runs out. In the heat of the summers and the cold of the winters, in the times when a few handfuls of dried sorghum are all that can go around, dozens of humans quietly slip away. The controllers are well-fed, well-equipped, well taken care of. All it takes to earn safety and comfort is to give up your soul.
- Three years pass this way, and the andalites finally arrive.
- They are merciful: they rescue the few hundred free humans who remain before they blow up the planet.