Modern Animorphs AU (part 2)
@jollysunflora : The second half of my complete list of modern AU Animorphs headcanons, approximately one per book.
28. “Ax,” Marco says, “How come you can roll out ‘venti dulce de leche dark-chocolate frappuchino extra whip’ without batting an eye, but you giggle every time you have to say the word ‘soy’?”
- “It has so many vowel—owl?—sounds, in so little space,” Ax says. “That long sssssssssss, so pleasant on the tongue, but then that odd oooyyy ooy-yah? All in the back of the mouth. Very strange. Sssoooy. Ssususs-oooyaaa.”
- “Also, he’s moved on from the frappuchinos,” Tobias adds. “Now he keeps spending all our hard-stolen bitcoins on espresso mack… mach…”
- “Espresso macchiato con panna,” Ax explains. “Doppio.”
29. Cassie feels herself sweating as she props the laptop across the room from her, tools laid out and Ax unconscious on the table. She never expected to find a YouTube video on how to perform brain surgery—and to be honest, it’s actually about “how neurosurgeons perform an orbitozygomatic craniotomy,” not intended to be a how-to manual—but it’s the best she can do under the circumstances, and so she’ll follow along for now.
MM3. “That’s the kind of strong leadership we need.” Jake gestures to the full-color television (this year’s latest model) where a program of their current leader plays on a loop. “Keeping the wrong kind of people out of this country, saving America for the right kind of Americans.”
- “Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Rachel says. She and Tobias and Jake are the only three Animorphs, except when Melissa joins them sometimes, and listening to their “Supreme Leader” blather on gets old sometimes. “All I want to know is whether it’s true that within a few years people will really have phones that plug into their cars. That’d be cool.”
- Tobias rubs his eyes against the silk of his wing feathers. They itch constantly, since he doesn’t have a gas mask to wear every time he goes out into the pollution-opaque air outside the way that his human friends do. Jake and Rachel take bets sometimes, idly, brutally, about whether he’s the last raptor left on the face of the planet.
- “Magnificent!” Drode appears in their midst, and both the Berensons immediately point guns at his head.
30. Marco is lying on his bed the day after watching Eva fall, staring at a patch of wall above his dresser, when he registers that his phone has been buzzing for a while now. It goes off so many times he assumes he has to be getting a call, but when he checks his notifications he just discovers he’s gotten seventeen text messages in the last hour.
- The first is from “Smurfette,” and says “Did you know that there is a type of food that involves baking a cinnamon bun inside of a donut? We must secure as many of these as it is possible for a human to consume, as soon as possible!”
- The next one, from “Hawkgirl,” reads: “found out recently that apparently ax still thinks you invented flea powder. i told him that if youd invented flea powder wed all be a lot richer right now.”
- “Team Dad” (not to be confused with “Real Dad,” which is how Marco lists Peter) sent along several invitations to team missions on League of Legends this afternoon, along with a threat to have Cassie play Marco’s avatar if Marco doesn’t join in. “we both know that by the time you get back you’ll have only healing attacks and she’ll have trained it to apologize automatically for stabbing people,” Jake adds.
- One of the many texts from “Julia Butterfly Hill” suggests that Jake has underestimated Cassie’s diabolical streak, because it’s a screenshot of a clone of his account which has had its name changed to HarambeWasFramed.
- The real surprise, however, is the single text from “Xena: Warrior Princess.” It’s a link to an article about a disaster in the local national park and the efforts to clean up the wreckage of an as-yet-unidentified craft which went down in the canyon. Marco has to read it a few times to understand the point she’s making, because it’s all about what’s not there: the article makes no mention of any human bodies being found among the wreckage.
- Marco gets halfway through typing a reply to them all which informs them in no uncertain terms that he sees through their transparent attempts to cheer him up and doesn’t appreciate it, but he deletes without sending. He can practically hear his mom’s voice saying it: he can focus on the fact that he’s still surrounded by people who love him, or he can focus on the negative side of everything. And being constantly negative is no way to live.
31. “Sharing this again, because its been 3 months,” Jake’s cousin Brooke posts on Facebook. “Anyone who has any news at all about Saddler, no matter what it is, PLEASE contact my family. Big brother, I dont know if youre still out there, but I miss you. I miss you like crazy.”
- Jake turns up his Spotify’s Offspring channel a little louder to drown out the sounds of Tom and his dad shouting at each other downstairs. His eyes flinch past Brooke’s post, but they can’t move fast enough to prevent the thought that flashes across the surface of his mind: Is this going to be me a year from now?
32. Tobias texts Rachel and Jake an article from Audubon.Org, where several birdwatchers are going into ecstasies of scientific fascination at the bald eagle and peregrine falcon seen flying in close formation in a cell-phone video taken near a highway overpass downtown. His only comment is, “Told you so.”
33. In the aftermath, Rachel does a Google search: “PTSD treatment symptoms outcomes.” She reads through the WebMD site, the NIMH page, the Wikipedia link to a DSM-5 entry. She thinks of Tobias’s withdrawn silences, his antipathy toward so much they used to enjoy, but she thinks of other things as well. How exhausted Jake seems any time they’re not on-mission. How badly Cassie flinches when the school bell rings and doors slam. How Ax seems to be gradually losing interest in the things—cooking shows, new condiments, human history trivia, These Messages—that once drew his fascination. How last week Marco flicked an ant off the back of his hand and then went white like he’d just kicked a puppy. How good it had felt when she’d hurt David, spreading the pain around, giving it back.
- She catches an Uber to the clinic downtown, filling out forms in the waiting room based on the checklist written on her phone for “how to get tobias an ssri”: Yes, she often feels tense and worried. Yes, her heart often races for no reason. No, she hasn’t thought of ending her life. No, she doesn’t feel out of control when she eats.
- She gets as far as developing a cover story—it’s about how she’s never felt the same since her parents’ divorce—but in the hallway to the office she panics and calls Cassie. “Am I doing the right thing?” she asks, after she’s explained.
- Cassie is silent for a long time, never a good sign. “I’m not sure an SSRI would work on a bird,” she says at last, “and that’s even if we could figure out a dose that would work without killing him. I know you want to help, and I think you should, but…”
- Rachel hears what she’s not saying: but what if her mom asks too many questions? But is this risk really worth it? But what if the psychiatrist (the receptionist, the pharmacist) is a controller? But isn’t it them, and only them, against the world, and isn’t that just how it has to be?
- “The war won’t last forever,” Cassie says weakly, and Rachel hates her a little for it. “When it’s over, when we get to tell everyone what’s happening…”
- Rachel hangs up. She goes home, morphs, and flies out to the woods.
- «You know I love you, right?» she asks Tobias later that evening.
- «Of course I do.» He sounds exhausted. She’s never felt more helpless in her life.
34. The Yeerk Peace Movement, as it comes out, has a Twitter feed. It is rather painfully obvious that it has been set up and run entirely by aliens who are doing their very best to communicate with humans, and not quite succeeding. Most of the posts are couplets, for some reason that none of the Animorphs can fathom.
- “Want to be On Fleek? When you see someone’s rights threatened, speak!”
- “Don’t be a Belieber anymore - end slavery and even the score.”
- “#tbt: Remember when we were symbiotes? Give taxxon freedom your sympathy votes!”
- “Nickelback is super lame, and keeping involuntary hosts is just the same.”
- “Respect your host’s rights today, and make your human into your bae!”
35. It’s Marco who comes up with the idea for how to take down William Roger Tennant. This is a guy, after all, whose cockatiels have their own Instagram account: he runs his fame on the internet.
- “It’s simple,” Marco explains. “We start a hashtag—#notsonicetennant—and we make it go viral. All we have to do is film this guy everywhere he goes, and eventually the yeerk will slip up.”
- It proves not to be simple after all. Their gif of Tennant twitching madly mid-EPA speech gets overshadowed by the news story about One Direction nearly getting poisoned with spiders at the same banquet. Ax does not understand the concept of hashtag, and keeps adding #notsonicetennant to his retweets of what Marco calls “food porn.” They train one of Tobias’s repurposed GoPros to follow poodle-Marco, but that becomes a meme mocking the world’s most obnoxious stray dog rather than Tennant himself.
- The plan finally, finally comes off when they pull out all the stops and just confront him in morph. The smartphones that Rachel rigged up in the surrounding buildings don’t pick up the thought speak, but the audio of Tennant screaming at the aliens to leave him alone comes through just fine.
- When the scandal breaks, the internet (in truly predictable fashion) drops #notsonicetennant and starts using #tennantgate instead.
- Ax reposts an old photo of Tennant eating a quinoa salad—zoomed in on the salad—and tags it #tennantgate. All of his teammates assure him they appreciate the attempt.
36. “All right, that’s just weird,” Marco says, looking at the final entry in the underwater creepshow they’ve been walking through for the past hour. “All the other ships have been getting more modern as we’ve gone, but this one? Looks like it was made in the sixties, at the latest.”
- «The world’s creepiest museum curators are getting sloppy with the placement of bodies as well,» Tobias points out. «There’s no way that many people could fit on a boat that small. They’re practically falling over the sides.»
- Jake and Cassie look at each other, seeing the same realization reflected in each other’s eyes. Neither one of them wants to say it out loud.
- Jake becomes the one to bite the bullet. “Don’t you get it?” He points to the ragged clothes, the emaciated bodies, the modern smartphone tucked in among the antiquated radio equipment. “They were refugees.”
37. Rachel shuts the window on the library computer as soon as she hears someone walk into the room, but she can tell she was too late by the look on Jake’s face when she turns around.
- “Roy Ludvig, huh?” Jake says. “Heck of a name.”
- “He was at the T.V. studio when we attacked.” Rachel looks down, picking at her nail polish. “No civilians were supposed to be in danger.”
- Jake’s expression softens, as much as it ever does. “And now you’re scrolling through his Facebook, looking for something that’ll let you sleep at night.”
- “He’s got a grandson,” Rachel blurts. “Jordan’s age. He…” She shrugs. He’s dead, and it’s more or less her fault.
- “Shouldn’t be looking on Facebook.” Jake sets his phone on the library table next to her, taps the screen to bring up an official-looking report. “You should be, say, borrowing my dad’s computer. Sending an email from his account to ask for the guy’s medical records. If you had, you’d know that Mr. Roy Ludvig had a heart condition. That he had maybe a year to live, at most, and doctors said he might die at any old time.”
- Rachel looks down at the report for a long time, and eventually looks up at Jake. “Doesn’t make it okay, what I did,” she says. “He’s still dead.”
- Jake shrugs. “You don’t have to forget it ever happened, but you do have to live with it. Live, and fight another day.”
38. In the aftermath of Estrid’s visit, Tobias is flying over the boardwalk when he sees a henna artist who clearly smokes way too much pot to be a Yeerk. He gets Ax, they morph human, and both get henna tattoos of Elfangor’s name. (Ax had previously expressed an admiration for the human tradition of commemorating a lost loved one by making markings on one’s body.) They know the tats will disappear when they demorph, but they’re both glad they did it. The artist asks how long they’ve been together, and Tobias says in a scandalized voice, “he’s my UNCLE!” Thus, Tobias succeeds in both of his goals: making Ax laugh, and reminding him he has family here on Earth. Honestly, the reminder doesn’t hurt Tobias either.
39. “You know, not all squirrels are like that,” Marco is fond of saying after a morph goes wrong. “Not all termites are horrifying worker drones.” Sometimes it’s, “You know, some of my best friends are fleas.”
- It’s Cassie, however, who gets the last laugh out of that one. «You know, Marco,» she says as they swim away from the wreckage of the helicopter, «Not all ants are like that, right? I shouldn’t say that all ants are killers, right?»
- Marco stares at her in silence while the others snicker, watching him war between the two impulses: to keep the joke going forever, and to express his honest hatred of ants.
- «Come on.» And now Rachel has joined in on the teasing. «You’re just going to let that kind of besmirching of the ant community stand?»
- «Okay, okay!» Marco gives in. «Ants suck. Yes, all ants!»
40. “Our experts have examined the video extensively, and near as we can conclude, this footage is genuine and unedited,” the newscaster says. “Given how viral this video has proven to be, with over two million views since it was posted to YouTube on Wednesday, everyone wants to know: is this footage proof that aliens exist? Is this a publicity stunt for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel? Or, as one YouTube commenter asks, did a Smurf just have sex with a centaur?”
- «Potential new ally?» Tobias suggests. He’s already tapping out a search for the original video in his modified tablet.
- Ax laughs. «Of course not. He’s crippled. A vecol. Useless. We must respect the privacy of his isolation.»
- “You know what? Fuck that,” Marco snaps. He shoves to his feet, posture tight with anger. “Just… Fuck that,” he tells Ax. “I have ADHD. Attention Deficit whateverthefuck. I take a pill every morning to help me function because my brain isn’t good enough to filter stimuli all by itself. I got a fucking 135 on the world’s most boring IQ test and I’m still failing half my classes. I’m a vecol. You think I’m useless, huh? You gonna start refusing to talk to me because of some bullshit about ‘respecting’ my ‘privacy’? Huh?”
- «That’s different,» Ax says. «You’re not…» He doesn’t seem to know how to finish that sentence.
- «If he’s an exception, I hope I am too,» Tobias says more gently. «I got screened for anxiety disorders as a kid, and I guess we’ll never know if I qualify or not, ‘cause my aunt decided that doctors cost money and if the test said I needed one then she didn’t want to know about it.»
- Ax doesn’t answer for a long time. He doesn’t seem to know where to look.
- «Let’s go tell the others what we found.» Tobias taps a button to send the video to himself. «We can talk more about this later.»
MM4. Tobias flinches when his phone makes the small ping sound that means he has an alert. The new kid is the easy target in every school on the planet. He wonders what it’ll be this time: another Facebook post where the semi-anonymous account Toby IsALoser tags him in another meme about how he has to pay people for sex because the sight of his body would make any normal girl run away screaming, another unnamed Instagram ping telling him he should kill himself so that no one has to look at his stupid fat face anymore, another Snapchat image of a puddle of vomit with the caption “me when I think of you,” an email with the most disgusting gif anyone could find after a quick search…
- It’s not, though. It’s an invite to join a private Facebook group, called The Sharing, with several hundred local members. Most of the names Tobias recognizes are cool older kids from the high school. Intrigued, willing to trust for the moment that this isn’t some ridiculously elaborate prank, Tobias clicks “join.”
41. Jake looks around at the enormous open field, concrete pitted with openings and low hovels of corrugated steel and rebar. He can see for nearly half a mile in every direction before the smog makes it impossible, and the tallest things around are the hunched hork-bajir. “Where are we?” he asks.
- Cassie frowns. “This? Jake, this is downtown Manhattan.”
- He gapes at her. “What happened to it?”
- “Tall buildings are targets for drone strikes,” she says casually, turning away. “The only way to be safe was to go underground.”
42. Marco doesn’t bother going to the house of the guy who photographed them, nor does he try to catch the kid before he uploads the video anywhere. Instead he waits for the image to appear on YouTube, then becomes the first commenter. “Sweet manip!” he says. “Is that Photoshop, or can you do that in free programs like Gimp?”
43. “EarthIsOurs-dot-tumblr-dot-com?” Marco says incredulously. “What does Taylor do there, post pictures of her pet taxxon? Reblog plans for planetary domination?”
- «Judging from her archive history, she’s had this blog for many years,» Ax says. «She recently changed the domain name, but some of the content on here is from as early as 2008.»
- Jake and Marco get caught up in debating with Cassie about what exactly to send to her, but Tobias just scrolls quietly through Taylor’s old posts. She didn’t lie about being beautiful, he realizes, or about being popular. There’s a long blank period in her tumblr account in mid-2014. And then she posted one selfie—just one—after the fire.
- He can’t bring himself to read the names that the trolls call her, or the discussions about how much money they’d have to be paid to have sex with her. But there’s no overlooking the suggestions that she kill herself. The posts are too numerous, too vitriolic.
- “Every chick ever to wander onto the internet has gotten that crap,” Rachel says; clearly she’s been reading over his shoulder. “She should’ve developed thick skin, not joined the Sharing.”
- Tobias thinks of the Facebook page made at his old school just to discuss the fact that he’s a chubby zit-face, of the posts which eventually overwhelmed his Instagram with death threats. «Yeah, I guess,» he says.
44. It takes a long time for Cassie to get home from Australia, but at least they’re not too worried for most of that time; she texts them her location and a brief description of the insanity that landed her in the Outback as soon as she gets in contact with Yami’s family.
45. “None of this makes any sense,” Peter says. “I’m hallucinating, or you’re delusional, or else—”
- Marco sets his phone in Peter’s lap. “Check the timestamp, Dad. I took that six months ago.”
- Peter stares at the phone for a long minute, and then slowly looks up at Marco. At a clear loss for words, he tilts his head back toward the screen.
- “I know.” Marco laughs, the sound wet with tears. “That blond wig looks terrible on her. But it’s really her, Dad. I swear.”
46. “So they’re going to get the U.S. embroiled in another war,” Marco says. “And this one with a country that can actually fight back.”
- «Seems like,» Tobias says. «Only why bother with all the secrecy and political wrangling? Why not just send a couple mean tweets to Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un? That’d probably do the job just as well.»
- “No, it wouldn’t.” Jake runs a hand through his hair, looking around at them all. “The yeerks need a total war. Everything the U.S. and its allies can pull out, against everything China and its allies can muster. Our military has gotten too used to sending drones to fight its wars, to ‘tactical strikes’ against insurgents. If the yeerks want half the species annihilated, they have to do a lot more than poke a couple of egos.”
47. “News flash,” Marco says. “Your average suburbanite ain’t gonna accept a seven-foot-tall alien for a neighbor. You know the number of times my mom’s been asked for proof of citizenship before she was allowed to vote or cash a paycheck or buy a car? How many times she’s been pulled over by cops while driving the speed limit with her seatbelt on? And she’s a regular old human being. Toby’s right—the hork-bajir have a whole other fight coming if we ever win the war.”
48. Rachel feels the blood drain from her face when she opens the Facebook message and sees the name attached. David’s Facebook account has been defunct for almost two years now; there’s no one left who would want or even be able to access it from the outside. Should be no one.
- Miss me? the message from David’s account says.
- Who are you? she types with shaking fingers. What do you want?
- I know what you did. I’m coming for you. I’ve got friends all over the place and they’ll find you. They’ll kill you. Amazing the allies you can get, when you know where the bodies are kept. On the internet, no one knows you’re a—
- Rachel hits “block.” She tells herself that the screaming nightmares she has all that night and into the next are the product of having a stressful life, she’s an Animorph for pete’s sake.
- She doesn’t stop shuddering every time she gets a message for the next two weeks, but she never hears from whoever (It wasn’t David. It couldn’t have been.) it was ever again.
49. They stagger away from yet another hopeless fight, all of them injured, half of them missing limbs or bleeding to death. Dragging their damaged bodies behind the first dumpster they find, they demorph, remorph, and force their minds to focus long enough for the long flight home. It’s only when Rachel is in owl morph, staring around the dimly lit alleyway, that she sees the security camera pointed directly at their location.
- «They must not check it that often,» Marco says without much hope. «Or else they’d be out here already to come looking for us.»
- «Doesn’t matter,» Tobias says harshly. «It had a perfectly clear view of all your human faces. And that building is owned by the yeerks.»
- They all stare at each other in dull shock as the realization sinks in. They always knew this moment was coming—they could only be so careful for so long—and yet, on some level each of them hoped it never would.
- «Take one more night to be with your families,» Jake says at last. «We evacuate everyone in the morning.»
- Jake loses his phone, again, somewhere amidst all the chaos. This time around he doesn’t bother to replace it. It’s not like his mom is going to be wondering where he is, not anymore.
50. “So,” Jake says, “this is going to sound crazy, but—”
- “Aliens are invading the planet, and you’re the only kid terrorist who can stop them?” James suggests. “We do have wifi up here, you know. You’re Jake Berenson, right? You’re all over the conspiracy theorists’ forums right now.”
- “Um.” Jake runs a hand through his hair, starts again. “Yeah, pretty much.”
- James nods. “In that case, you’ve got thirty seconds to convince me your story’s not a load of crap before I call security.”
51. Ax secures their wifi in something a billion times better-hidden than Tor. With that reassurance, they all end up starting blogs.
- Marco’s is a rambling string of wry comments about everything from the invasion to his parents’ science projects. Sample post: “Insider source (aka my mom): Visser Three has morphed human and eaten AN ENTIRE BAG OF MARSHMALLOWS in one sitting, ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION. Pass it on!”
- Jake’s is the place that people go to find out how they can help, and to get his reassurance that the help means something. Sample post: “As Barack Obama says, ‘We the people recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom without a commitment to others is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.’ This fight will never be over just as long as we keep supporting each other. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to you all for the KickStarter donations.”
- Rachel’s has beauty tips for the American girl on the run, light and self-deprecating enough that you often don’t notice the undercurrent of desperation. Sample post: “If you want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror, try fixing your hair using reflective surfaces such as pots, ponds, or pieces of Bug fighter wreckage. Alternately, just say ‘fuck it’ and never look at yourself again.”
- Cassie’s tells people how to stay safe, and how to keep their environments safe as well. Sample post: “Everyone please remember, it’s important to stock enough food and water for family pets as well as humans when retreating to an apocalypse bunker!”
- Tobias’s has a lot of good-natured grumbling about everyday life in the valley. Sample post: “In other news, my girlfriend’s mom is currently arguing with the smartest being on the face of the planet about where to put the new latrine facilities. Sorry Naomi, but my money’s on Toby.”
- Ax’s has a lot of food reviews, of course, but again there’s that undercurrent of desperation, almost like he’s trying to convince someone else (or maybe even himself) that humans are worth saving. Sample post: “Marco assures me that there are no less than 23 distinct flavors contained within every sip of Dr. Pepper. Just think of the years of experimentation and innovation it must have required to produce a drink which can inspire 23 different reactions from human taste buds, all at the same time. Truly inspired genius.”
52. They run drills upon drills for what to do in case of a drone strike. Using any morphs they have that can dig or build—mole, taxxon, elephant, beaver—the Animorphs create an extensive network of tunnels and shelters, posting guards at all times to keep their eyes on the sky. The hork-bajir valley doesn’t show up on satellite imagery, which they only know thanks to Peter’s definitely-illegal fact-gathering missions on the darkweb, but they don’t know for sure whether an overhead camera would be subject to the same strange perceptual distortions they all experience when flying there as birds. They nearly lose their precious secrecy when Naomi sends several emails from her work account, claiming she’s being held hostage and asking anyone who will listen to come rescue her. Eva generates a hasty follow-up from the same account asking people to ignore “the prank that I now realize was in poor taste,” but none of them are sure it worked for the next several days.
53. Rachel makes one last post on her nearly-extinct Instagram account. This time the scrap of paper she uses appears to be torn from the back of a food label, but the penciled script is as intricate as ever. It reads “Who wants to live forever? —Freddie Mercury, 1986”
54. After it’s all over, Tobias retreats, he hides, but he keeps a thread of communication open. Cassie shoots him an email with the subject line “Hawk patient with intermittent aggression and lethargy—any idea what could be causing it?” Marco sends him idiotic memes that now feature the Animorphs’ names and faces. Ax asks for constant updates on the new wing of Taco Bell being built downtown, and repays the favor by leaking confidential information about the search for the Blade ship.
- And then he gets one of the stranger emails he’s ever received. It’s an offer of a full legacy scholarship to Harvard University (which has just found the means to explain some inconsistencies in the records of one “Alan Fangor,” who graduated in the ‘80s) in exchange for Tobias teaching one class per semester on any subject of his choice. He agrees, with the stipulation that all his classes be online.
- The resultant course (Ornithology 442: An Insider’s Perspective) is like nothing the students who participate have ever seen before. Tobias will write out rambling treatises on Why Blue Jays Suck or All the Ways Hawks Are Superior to Eagles with a thought-speak-to-text recorder. He’ll deliver online lectures from a shaky webcam pointed into a nonspecific tree, occasionally wandering off for hours at a time to go hunting. Students who ask him personal questions about Rachel get regurgitated mouse skeletons Fed-Exed to their campus mailboxes. Essays that don’t demonstrate much effort get feedback such as “even I can tell this sucks and I have a seventh-grade education” or “my grandmother could make better sentences than this AND SHE’S AN ANDALITE WHO DOESN’T SPEAK ENGLISH.” Assignments include “find one bird fact in a textbook and explain why it’s a load of crap” or “go film a Boston pigeon until it does something interesting, I dare you.”
- Nevertheless, enrollment is so popular that Harvard has a three-year waiting list and charges students an extra $500 just to sign up. When Tobias finds out about the extra fee, he promptly video-calls the Intrepid, gives Ax remote access to his computer, and explains why he needs Ax to convert the course illegally to a MOOC. Harvard University fires him for breach of contract; Yale hires him on that very same afternoon.