Book 6: The Capture, Chapters 4-6
We open up the next chapter with Jake telling the Animorphs about his Roach Adventure and how he got free: morphing back to human boy, which ended up with him half-wedged behind the fridge, wearing his morphing spandex and a roach trap stuck to his head, when his mother walked in. Oh, Jake. Jake, Jake, Jake.
Everyone’s pretty amused except Cassie, who reads Jake the riot act about testing out a new morph alone. Jake agrees partly out of common sense and partly because he’s in twitterpated teen love, and then does several pages of exposition which I’m blithely skipping because we all know that Rachel is pretty, Marco is sarcastic, Tobias is a literal hawk, etc.
But then we have to settle down to serious business and moving the plot along. Specifically: Jake has to bring everyone else in on his discoveries from spying on Tom. He’s discovered that Tom keeps making phone calls to a variety of doctors at the local hospital, specifically to doctors at the “Berman Clinic,” which I imagine will be important at some point..
Marco promptly reaches the same conclusion Jake already fears: the Yeerks are running some or all of the hospital, and using it as a revolving door to expand their numbers. Humans with free will check in, but they don’t check out again - their shiny new brain parasites do.
OMG. Like a roach motel! The roach motel was a metaphor. I’m overcome with delight, but I will take a few deep breaths and carry on.
Back at Jake’s house after dinner, Tom pulls Jake aside for yet another weird talk about how Jake really ought to consider joining his friendly neighborhood youth cult, it would be cool and important and definitely more worthwhile than hanging out with Marco all the time.
Jake: Um, okay, thanks for the offer, but I’m sort of into not being in a cult, it’s this weird thing I’m trying out, sorry about that.
Yeerk behind Tom’s eyes: *brief flash of cold contempt at human weakness*
Jake: OK, welp, this was fun ,let’s just keep doing this again several times a day, it is definitely not awkward
Jake’s mom: EVERYONE COME HAVE CHEESECAKE!
Me: Damn it, I really want cheesecake now.
And that’s it for this act of the family melodrama, except for a vague reference to a dream Jake’s having every night. Which seems totally fine and not at all like a thing that’s going to come into play later.
Oh my god. The kids are having a group practice session. I’m so proud of them and also so certain that this is going to go horribly wrong.
They’re hanging out in Marco’s new apartment. (Marco has a new apartment! That his dad got with money from his new job! I…kind of want to know how much time has elapsed since the last book, now, that his dad has already found a new job and gotten at least one paycheck and found a new apartment and moved. But we’ll just go with it, since I recognize that the targeted age range of these books is probably not super up to speed on the finer points of job-hunting and lease-breaking.)
Everyone but Jake and Tobias morphs into their cockroach forms, and then they spend an hour or so with Jake talking and everyone else learning to tune their roach senses so that they can feel the speech vibrations and translate them into actual meaning. It goes reasonably well, and Ax continues to be delighted about the spectacular variety of animal life on the planet.
Back in human form, it is Serious Discussion time. Jake suggests that he can do this spy mission alone, ostensibly to spare everyone else the danger, but everyone else promptly recognizes that he’s actually trying to protect Tom. He’s worried about what will happen in a potential fight. Marco tries to reassure him that none of them would ever hurt Tom, but Jake’s trying to be realistic about the fact that Tom’s brain-Yeerk could and would kill any of them without hesitation, and they may have to do something unpleasant to save themselves.
Jake shares his dream: He’s a tiger, and he’s stalking Tom, all bloody-lusty and prepared to kill. Except that when he gets close and Tom turns around, he’s not Tom. He’s…
[And there Jake cuts himself off, deciding the rest of the dream is not for sharing. What a tease! My current prediction: Jake sees himself, and then probably he eats himself or something but we’ll see.]
Jake thinks that Tom is important to the hospital takeover plan somehow, so he feels stuck. If they manage to sabotage the hospital plan, Tom’s Yeerk and Tom along with it may be punished for killed. It’s not a good situation any way you slice it.
Cassie thinks they should forget the whole thing and walk away from endangering Tom this way. Marco suggests they postpone that decision for a while and just go ahead with the spy mission, and then decide when they have more information. Everyone goes along with that, and Spy Roach Mission is a go.
I feel like the whole “deciding to postpone deciding” thing isn’t gonna be feasible for too many more chapters, honestly. These books are pretty short. But I guess we’ll see.