Theory: There are 12 members of the Functionist Council. There are 13 members of the 13 Primes, though without The Fallen, that leaves 12. Odds of a connection?
Tenuous connection at best, and it could end up being very well a coincidence, as 12 is a pretty number.
First off, we have to look at what the Functionists really believe in. With the words of the Prima himself, Survive and Thrive. We also see a statue of Adaptus as well. We have yet to see any evidence of the Thirteen being known in the universe as well.
There is also the fact that in the main universe, there isn’t much belief in The Thirteen as well. The first organized religion we see that involve them is from Caminus, where they focus on Solus Prime.
So the question is, what made those two religions divide so drastically?
We have to turn to the origin of Functionism itself.
The First Civil War on Cybertron, also referred to as the Headmaster War, was actually the violent uprising against the political structure of the Thirteen Tribes, each ruled by one of the Thirteen Primes. The Headmaster part of it was just a small part of why the war was fought.
As Nova Prime took over, declaring himself the sole Prime and the Ruler of Cybertron, he instituted
What does this have to do with the fact that there is no mention of the Thirteen on the Functionist Cybertron?
First off we have to think of the Functionist Cybertron as a dystopia, a totalitarian regime. Resistance or not, things will seep through, such as the suppression of knowledge and other religions. To have total control of one’s subjects, the suppression of the knowledge that things are better outside of them, or that they even exists outside of them is crucial.
Like for instance the suppression of The Thirteen, who were destroyed to make way for Functionism. To let people know about the Thirteen to begin with might make them wonder who they were, and where they were in the context of actual history.
I wonder how many of the Thirteen those in the Functionist Cybertron can name. Or even if they know they were Thirteen to begin with.
Summary: There was a lot of unresolved animosity between him and you
but for some reason, on the day he should be happiest, he missed you and he
wished that you were by his side. (A/N: Based on the old series Dues to Be Paid that
I deleted. Hopefully this will provide a nice, cushioned conclusion to the
There was a buzz in the air that permeated throughout the
club. It came from the lights, the music, the alcohol, and the dancing and it
seeped into people’s bodies, making them forget who they were and giving them
the adrenaline and courage to do things they wouldn’t normally though.
Short opinion: Other books in the series make the point that war is not a chess game. This book emphasizes that idea—through showing us what it takes to view war as a chess game.
The Ellimist Chronicles might be the novel with the single largest scope of any book I’ve ever read: it tells the story of how a god becomes a god. Part of what makes this book so cool and also so creepy is the sense of fatalism and foreboding that pervades it throughout. Between the Ketrans, the Pangabans, the Jallians, and the Capasins, not to mention all the species casually sacrificed in the Ellimist’s games, we see like 8 different sentient species go extinct over the course of this book. Add to that the fact that it opens and closes on the death of an Animorph—no telling which one at that point in the series—and this book almost appears to be setting up for the fall of humanity to the yeerk empire. And our narrator is not the most reassuring one: he expresses empathy for Rachel, yes, but he also plays the yeerk-human war like a game, and we know for a fact that he wouldn’t be unduly inconvenienced if the humans were to lose. Which is pretty goshdarn uncomfortable to read about, because in this particular game we’re the pawns.
It’s a huge theme in the Animorphs series that war is NOT a chess game, or even comparable to a chess game (or any other game for that matter) in any meaningful way, not if you’re even a halfway-decent person. War is about deciding which people from your own side should die horribly in the process of attempting to ensure which people from the other side die horribly, a course of action that should only be undertaken as an absolute last resort after all other choices have been exhausted. The idea that it’s not even appropriate or good to make that comparison comes up again and again (MM3, #11, #16, Andalite Chronicles). In #53 Jake sums it up: “At the beginning of the American Civil War, both sides thought the war was about taking or holding cities and ports. They thought it was a chess game. By the end of the war, they’d figured out that they weren’t playing chess… The real game was destruction…They burned enemy homes and farms. They burned crops in the field and slaughtered farm animals and wrapped railroad tracks around trees. They starved the enemy. They realized that warfare was no longer about chivalry and honor, but about killing the enemy. Do whatever it takes… Dress it up however you want, that’s what war is about. If there’s glory in there somewhere, I must have missed it.”
Jake is right, of course, that he’s not playing a chess game. At that point in the series, he’s deciding whether he’s willing to kill his brother and sacrifice his cousin in order to protect his species. He’s already made the decision to give up on saving his parents in order to blow up the yeerk pool. These are his family members and friends on the line, not rooks or bishops… and no matter what he does, some of them are going to die. Jake’s also a decent human being, enough to realize that the taxxons have families too, that many of them are not there by choice, but that’s the only way he has out of this situation: kill the enemy.
Anyway, back to the Ellimist. Who can experience the devastation of losing his own species for decades after the death of the ketrans, but doesn’t spare more than a moment of annoyance for the annihilation of the pangabans. Who exists so far above the lives and concerns of ordinary beings that he can see their entire existence playing out in a matter of seconds. Who is so far removed from those ordinary lives that he is largely incapable of understanding them at all. He doesn’t have family members on the line, he doesn’t see the world through the taxxons’ eyes—and he’s therefore just ruthless enough to destroy six children in order to save a species that he considers worth saving. Jake might be horrified that Crayak uses child-soldiers as his ultimate weapon (#26) but also seems to overlook the fact that the Ellimist uses EXACTLY THE SAME TACTIC when he recruits the Animorphs.
It’s obvious right from the very first book that the Animorphs universe isn’t run by a benevolent or all-powerful god. What makes this book so mind-blowing is that it shows that the god of this universe is powerful, he’s well-intentioned… and he’s still not only very limited, but also kind of a jerk a lot of the time. Toomin does his best to encourage species to thrive and grow as they naturally would, he shows enormous fondness for the infinite variations of life in the universe, and he does what he can to protect life in the universe.
He also just happens to be condescending as fuck.
The narration of The Ellimist Chronicles does a really good job of showing why, exactly, Toomin tends to think of ordinary beings as “small” or “helpless,” since he watches the rise and fall of entire civilizations in about one subjective afternoon most of the time—but he also spends a hell of a lot of time describing the hardworking autonomous people whose lives he casually manipulates as “tiny” or some synonym thereof. There’s no obligation or external stricture which says that he has to care about ordinary beings—and indeed Crayak seems much more comfortable not caring at all—so one can appreciate how much he works at it. However, he also doesn’t quite get to the level of thinking of humans as (for lack of a better term) fully human: they’re chess pieces, he moves them around, and if he has to sacrifice a few then oh well. He doesn’t ask whether they’d like to be moved in advance, he doesn’t incessantly turn over possibilities until he finds the one with the least bloodshed, and he certainly doesn’t have a long conversation with Rachel about whether she’s willing to die before it happens. He sees possibilities and acts on them. Because he’s a gamer, and they are game pieces. Who cares what a knight thinks, as long as it’s not in the trajectory of the opposing bishop?
Toomin tries, to be sure, but he doesn’t think like a human leader and he doesn’t treat his “pieces” like equals or even underlings. He might even know Cassie’s favorite bands or Jake’s scoring record in basketball (who knows?) but he probably doesn’t consider that information to be particularly important. Because he’s a gamer, to his core, and he thinks like a gamer. And Jake and Cassie are just NPCs to him.
Video games (and to a lesser extent tabletop games) represent this odd nebulous space whose meaning tends to defy interpretation. The questions that everyone from social psychologists to communication researchers to philosophers to television shows to gamers themselves have asked (What, if anything, does one’s in-game behavior say about one’s true personality? Does performing certain behaviors in-game influence one’s habits in the real world? How much does shooting a person during a game have to do with one’s actual willingness to shoot a person if put in that situation in real life?) reflect the sheer bizarre extremity of in-game behavior. Because the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of people engage in utterly reprehensible actions while playing games that they would never engage in during real interactions. I myself have crashed spaceships into planets, driven cars off the road using my own vehicle, stabbed people in the gut, and shot unarmed prisoners in the head—because it’s all part of the game. And it’s just a game, right? Who cares how I win?
If those were real people, they’d sure as hell care. If I was a general who only thought of a war as like a game, I’d be no better than Visser Three. (One of the better moments of dark humor in Visser: the Council of Thirteen considers sympathy for humans a crime punishable by death and execution of several thousand underlings a crime punishable by temporary exile.) In a lot of ways, Toomin’s perspective on humans has more in common with the yeerks’ or even Crayak’s. He needs people like Jake and Rachel and Elfangor and Arbron to win this war for him.
So, yeah, Toomin is a gamer—and it’s almost a natural consequence that he throws lives away any time it’s convenient for him. He’s not human, he’s not an andalite, and he doesn’t appreciate individuals the way he does entire species. K.A. Applegate achieves a masterwork by not only giving us the realistic-feeling origin story of a god, but doing so in a way that creates rules which genuinely fit with the Animorphs world as we know it.
SO. It’s probably a little out there, and the evidence I have is nothing but circumstantial. But I did get to thinking about two characters who have had more than a minor impact on the Ventureverse and how little we know about them. Force Majeure is the key one here: they were first mentioned in Pomp and Circuitry back in season 4, and the mention is more than offhand, I’d say: Phantom Limb is cornered and being addressed by the Sovereign, and questions who died and put him in charge. Bowie (who we all know is not Bowie, but will be referred to as Bowie for the duration of this theory because it’s easier) responds “That would be my predecessor, Force Majeure.” There’s no way at this point that the Limb didn’t know that Majeure was the previous Sovereign; this line is spoken for us, the viewers, and it’s clear that this was information that the Astrobase wanted us to know and be thinking about. Force Majeure from this very moment was more than just a footnote; they were something to watch for.
Flash forward to All This And Gargantua-2, with the introduction of Meteor Majeure, Force Majeure’s outer space lair and the former seat of the Guild’s Council of Thirteen. It’s safe to assume that Majeure must have been fabulously wealthy to be able to maintain an asteroid-bound space station; they were also still actively arching at this point in time, holding the Boy’s Brigade for ransom in 1968. Again, a completely unseen character who we know nothing about has had a tremendous impact on the goings-on in the Ventureverse.
Force Majeure’s importance to this story is clear, but their role is not. Who is the former Sovereign, and how did Bowie come to take their place? I propose that the individual known as Force Majeure iiiiisssssss:
The Monarch’s mother.
“Why?” you ask, flummoxed that I would connect two completely random characters we know nothing about for the hell of it. Well, here’s why:
A.Force Majeure’s gender is never stated. This strikes me as a tactic with the express purpose of hiding that they were a woman.
B. The Guild never kept records on the Blue Morpho. Phantom Limb claims that it’s because he wasn’t a Guild member, but it seems highly unlikely to me that something as organized as the guild wouldn’t have an actual file for someone as important and dangerous as the Blue Morpho, regardless of whether he was a member or not. We know the Guild keeps information on protagonists, for the purposes of assigning an arch, but for some reason, a thorn in the guild’s side and a major player in the world of heroes vs. villains doesn’t have any official record in all of their files? That smells like a cover-up, and who would be powerful enough to expunge all information, and with what motive? The answer is the Sovereign, who was also his wife.
C. It adds another layer of motivation to the plane crash in which she was killed. We don’t know when Bowie became the Sovereign, but what we do know about him is that he’s shifty, power hungry, and values self-preservation above all things. If she was Force Majeure, and Bowie were at any point in line to take the title of Sovereign, then his machinations would have seen the birth of her child as a major threat. We still don’t know what Bowie’s exact deal with the Investors was: what if that deal was merely to officially put a hit on the Blue Morpho? The power of the Investors would override her ability to protect her husband, and the death of the Blue Morpho, Force Majeure, and her only heir would be three problems out of Bowie’s way in one fell swoop, clearing him to take the title of Sovereign with no challenge. This also explains why Bowie would destroy the records of the Blue Morpho hit: to cover his tracks.
D.There’s been a theory floating around that, due to the family resemblance and the closeness of the two families, that the Monarch’s mom is a Venture, and sister to Jonas Venture Sr. If this is true, it also makes her a legitimate heir to the title of Sovereign, as the Ventures were founding members of the Guild and Dean was next in line as of The Revenge Society.
E. The logo we see all over Meteor Majeure (the shape of the table, the bases of the chairs) was a large stylized M. What other villain that we know of uses a big, stylized M as his personal emblem?
Council of Thirteen:
If you fuck up just once more, Esplin, you're going to be executed for treason.
*kills dozens of Hork-Bajir in genetic experimentation to try and make them amphibious instead of just sending Taxxons* *lets the Animorphs kill the inspector sent specifically to make sure he doesn't fuck up* *lets a potential Andalite host get eaten by Taxxons* *lets another potential Andalite host get rescued without first putting a Yeerk in his head just because he doesn't have a tail-blade* *was willing to blow up an entire Yeerk pool, killing thousands of Yeerks and hundreds of hosts to get to the Yeerk Peace Movement* *doesn't stop the Animorphs from killing Visser One who was scheduled for execution and rescuing her host*
Council of Thirteen:
Promotion to Visser One it is.
Motherfucking Visser One jesus christ fuck dude motherfucking Earth invasion bullshit jesus can you fucking believe this shit
Goddamn discovered humanity and fucking Council of Thirteen and shit right fucking Essam goddamn having a host fuck yo shit i can’t even fucking believe this shit have you seen this shit fuck i just watched this shit fuck Visser One man
No man i’ll just talk about the botched invasion of Earth all day shit man you have to be so interested in the shit i have to say about the decision to make this a stealth invasion fuck dude i got shipped on-planet a year and a half ago fuck Visser One man they fucked over Essam 293 crazy merged with his host or green-lighted this planet fuck this Yeerkwho planned this invasion i don’t like dying i can’t think of who the fuck planned this invasion all i can think is the Yeerk who became the Yeerk who planned this invasion who the fuck planned this invasion
If it’s a question of who’s a better visser, then I gotta go with Visser Three.
I know it seems counterintuitive—he has more screw-ups to his name than the entire rest of the empire put together, and ultimately loses the war—but part of the fridge brilliance of the series is the fact that the yeerks lose at least partially because of the colossal mismatch between the fighting styles of their chief strategist (Visser One) and their field commander (Visser Three). (Contrast: Marco and Jake.) Visser Three loses the war because he’s forced into a covert invasion for so long, not because he fails at executing his own battle plan.
Visser Three is, as we have seen, very good at winning big loud battles. He understands psychological warfare (how many times, exactly, is there mention of another character getting chills just looking at him?) and his strategy of bopping around the galaxy acquiring the DNA of any animal that looks even remotely useful means that he has a repertoire of morphs bigger and badder than all of the Animorphs put together. When he is finally given the chance to wage open war in the last couple books, he’s actually very good at it: he masters everything from the big strokes like infesting the military leaders first to the tiny gestures like allowing the news helicopters to film the destruction of the Animorphs’ hometown. He understands how to keep a reign of terror going, both within his own ranks and when interacting with the enemy. If he’d just been able to wage open war against the earth, the way he repeatedly begs permission to do, then probably the entire human species would be overrun by yeerks in a matter of months. As it is, he repeatedly has his hands tied by Visser One’s insistence on covert infiltration.
Even his biggest blunder of all—not figuring out that the Animorphs are human until long after it should have been obvious—becomes more excusable once we learn more about his host. For all that the yeerks insist that they’re not at all influenced by the host bodies they possess, there’s evidence all over the place that that’s simply not the case (Aftran 942 joining the resistance because of what she sees in Cassie’s mind and Edriss 562 making a wager with Allison Kim, just to name two).
Yeerks see the world through their hosts’ eyes, figuratively as well as literally. And Alloran is so unbelievably extreme in his andalite arrogance that he thinks of the hork-bajir as a sub-sentient natural resource rather than as individual beings and thinks nothing of committing genocide to forward the andalite cause. Given that information, it’s pretty conceivable that Alloran—and, by extension, Esplin 9466—would never in a million billion years believe that any non-andalite would be capable of the kind of tactical skill the Animorphs demonstrate on a regular basis. Add that to Esplin’s pre-existing belief that andalites are the greatest species ever, and suddenly it makes a lot more sense that he absolutely cannot shake the belief that he’s being attacked by andalite bandits. Put it this way: if you suddenly encountered a talking horse, how much evidence would you need before you finally started believing it was really a talking horse and not a human making it happen somehow?
Anyway, Visser Three might be pretty bad at inspiring his followers to do anything other than lie as much as necessary to prevent one of his temper tantrums (MM1, #28), but at least he wants to conquer the earth, get more hosts for the yeerks, and do (more or less) as the Council of Thirteen says. Visser One always has her own agenda, and she doesn’t care what she has to do to forward that agenda, whether it’s manipulating the entire leadership team or withholding information that could enable the yeerks to win the war (#5, #30). Especially after reading Visser I’m convinced that Visser One lost the war for Visser Three (by lying to the Council, insisting on a covert infiltration, failing to tell anyone that the “andalite bandits” are human, and sabotaging Visser Three’s plans), not the other way around.