Book 5: The Predator, Chapters 8-9
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Marco wakes up screaming from a nightmare involving lobster morphs. His dad comes in to help him calm down, which is nice. Marco’s first not-quite-awake thought is to ask for his mom, which is less nice, since it just reminds Marco and his dad both that his mother is dead and they are both sad. So now, after Marco’s dad leaves, Marco gets to lie awake thinking about both his shitty lobster dream and his dead mother. Being an Animorph is hell on one’s sleep cycles.
The next day, Ax and the Animorphs gather in Ax’s field to work on building the Yeerk distress beacon. They apparently rescued their Radio Shack purchases from the grocery store after their lobster adventure, so Ax makes good progress putting his beacon together. There are sandwiches and drinks, everyone enjoys the nice day, it’s a pleasant little “plotting to stop the alien invasion” interlude.
The mood is somewhat spoiled by both Jake and Marco being in crappy moods after being chased and almost boiled, and by the fact that Ax’s little gadget isn’t going to do a damn thing without a transponder that hasn’t been invented yet.
Tobias flies down from his scouting with a suggestion, though: Assistant Principal Chapman’s basement communications setup that he uses to chat with holographic Visser Three. Ax confirms that a setup like that would absolutely have the necessary very small transponders, and almost certainly would have multiple redundant ones so that one could go missing without raising suspicion
Everyone is in agreement that they can’t pull the “morphing into Chapman’s cat” thing again since Chapman will be on guard against that, and they can’t do anything that would endanger Melissa either
Everyone’s glum for a while and then Cassie has a bright idea.
Marco: please tell me there are no exoskeletons involved.
Cassie: it won’t be like that at all except for how it’s definitely going to be exactly like that, get ready to revisit the wonderful world of exoskeletons
Marco: what the shit Cassie
Cassie’s bright idea: Ants!
Hey, I think I called this! Or at least I know I’ve thought about whether they would ever be ants ‘cause tiny-but-strong, but I’m not sure I ever actually typed it out. Anyway. Ants.
Marco stomps around school crankily the next day because he’s not getting any sleep and he blew a test and he doesn’t want to be a damn ant. Jake tries to tell him about how being a flea wasn’t so bad, and Marco is just sure, if you liked drinking cat!Rachel’s blood. Jake, one assumes, is quietly thinking do not kinkshame me, buddy and the whole conversation doesn’t go super-well.
Marco finally blurts out one of the other reasons for his general state of crankiness: They’re coming up hard on the two-year anniversary of his mother’s death. He’s not quite sure how to mark or cope with the anniversary himself, much less to help his dad through it, but he is pretty sure that he does not want to die on his mom’s deathiversary week himself, thanks.
Off Marco stomps, thinking about how his mother’s body was never found after she drowned at sea, and how it must be kind of like the Alienstag’s parents, with their son lost in space, never knowing for sure if or how he died. If he can help get Ax back to their parents, then at least one family will have some closure on their dead family member, who died trying to save Earth.
And so Marco, always his own worst enemy in talking himself into things after talking himself out of them, has apparently decided to move forward with the Ant Plan.
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