And also an announcement! Cinnamon Bunzuh is going to have a fanart day, because we love pretty pictures!
You can draw anything you want in any medium, and then Adam will put them all together in a blog post. Just send your submissions to email@example.com (If you'd like us to put a link to your website/blog/twitter/tumblr/whatever, we'd be happy to.) The deadline is two weeks from today, so start drawing/photoshopping/shamelessly tracing!
PS: And Adam says the images have to be safe for work, because he is no fun.
Six Days The Animorphs Were Idiots
The Day Cassie Started a Cult: Part One
Jake went down to the beach that morning. Cassie had said that there was something she wanted him to see, and she'd meet him there. It was probably an animal she was nursing back to health or something, but whatever. Jake would put up with pretty much anything if it meant a few hours alone with Cassie.
When he arrived, he noticed a crowd gathered around one spot on the shoreline. Panic and paranoia gripped him, and he began running towards it. Luckily, the people were all smiling and relaxing. Cassie was at the front of the group, talking animatedly. When she saw Jake, a big smile lit up her face.
"Jake! You came!"
"Yeah. Uh…what is this? Who are all these people?"
"These are the members of my Superior Sea Initiative."
"Oh! It's a nature appreciation group I've started. We do pretty standard stuff—debris clean-ups, keep an eye out for injured birds, commune with the whales…" Cassie was still beaming.
"That sounds, uh, well, um, whales?" Jake glanced around at the members of Cassie's group. Some of them were singing camp songs, and one guy had even brought a guitar. They were all wearing the same t-shirts, he realized. They read SUPERIOR SEA INITIATIVE, with a picture of a whale underneath.
Cassie linked her elbow with Jake's and pulled him aside.
"Come on, it's harmless. I figure by doing this, we'll be taking potential members away from The Sharing. Plus, they all get so excited when I can summon whales or dolphins."
"You morph in front of these weirdoes?"
"Of course not! I'm not careless. I just trained some of the local animals to show themselves. I'm pretty good at communicating with them. And they're not weirdoes, Jake, they're good people who really care about the planet."
"Are you sure this is a good idea?"
"What? Why wouldn't it be?"
"I don't know…just be careful, alright?"
"You know me. I'm not Rachel, Jake." Cassie smiled. "Anyway, would you like to stay for the meeting? We're starting soon."
"Well…I guess," said Jake. "Yeah. Sure."
"Thanks, Jake!" Cassie rushed back to the group. "I think we're about ready to start! Let's all make the circle, everyone!"
Jake watched as Cassie's collection of new-agers and hippies arranged themselves in a lumpy oval shape on the sand. Jake sat down next to Cassie, tripping the guitar-guy on his face to get to the spot first.
"Okay everybody," Cassie clasped her hands together like an excited teacher. "We had a great meeting last week. I'm really looking forward to today. Would anyone like to get us started?"
A thin high-school aged girl raised her hand.
"Yes, Irene?" said Cassie.
"Well, a few nights ago, I dreamed I was a fish in the ocean," said the girl in a soft, airy voice, "and I was chasing something, but then when I turned around I was the whole ocean and the fish that I'd been was inside me and I could see what I was chasing from the outside, like I was outside of everything. I mean, I was inside, inside the ocean, but I was the ocean, so it was like—"
Jake glanced sideways at Cassie. She was still smiling, and looked legitimately interested in what Irene was saying. He allowed himself a little sigh and pasted a big, fake smile on his face.
* * *
Rachel sauntered through the Yeerk Pool with confidence and indifference. She was usually confident and indifferent (or at least, she liked to think she was), but today it was because she was in her housecat morph and there was just no other way to be.
Technically, this mission was ‘off the record' and by ‘off the record', she meant ‘something I thought up just now and haven't told anyone else about.'
But there was something to be said for going around the others, especially Jake and Marco. She just knew Jake would want to send everyone along and slow her down, and Marco would nitpick and ask stupid annoying questions like ‘have you thought this through all the way?' or ‘how will you get out alive?'
It wasn't hard to find Visser Three. She was surprised that his habit of blasting his words to everyone within a five mile radius hadn't gotten him assassinated yet. He was standing with some other Controllers when she decided to show herself.
Visser Three did not disappoint. He pointed. <Kitty!> he cried. <Someone catch it!>
Rachel allowed the nearest human-controller to pick her up, awkwardly. He brought her over to Visser Three, who held her up to his eyes.
<Hello, pretty cat! Where did you come from? Are you hungry?>
This was the closest Rachel had ever been to Visser Three, and the only time he hadn't been trying to kill her. She noticed his green eyes seemed to be smiling, the same way Ax's did when he was happy. It was a strange experience.
<Everyone is dismissed,> said Visser Three. <I need to bring him home!>
The Controllers didn't even bother trying to argue.
* * *
Jake risked opening one eye, but it was okay—everyone else was still deep in meditation, including Cassie. He glanced down at his watch. The meeting had already gone on for almost an hour, and was showing no sign of wrapping up anytime soon.
Being sure to move quietly, Jake got to his feet. The soft sand muffled his footsteps, so nobody noticed when he went over to the snack stand and bought two slices of pizza and a soda.
Balancing the paper plate and aluminum soda can, Jake made his way to the wooden picnic tables. He chose a spot that allowed him a picturesque view of the ocean and took his time to enjoy the still-warm cheese and bubbly soda.
When he was finished eating, he threw the plate and can away and went back to his spot beside Cassie.
* * *
<I need to think of a name for you! I am running out of synonyms for ‘perfect'. That is very irritating.>
"Visser! Thank God, you're back. Visser, the tigers have escaped and they're eating the Taxxons!"
Rachel ran the sentence through her head about ten times before she was certain she'd heard it correctly.
<What do you want me to do about it?> said Visser Three crossly.
"Please just make it stop!"
<Oh, very well.> Rachel was deposited in the Controller's arms. <If anyone shot at them, I will be very displeased!>
The Controller fled. There was a little group waiting for him just around the corner.
"What is he going to do?" worried a woman.
"I have no idea." The Controller who held Rachel was still shaking. "I don't know how we can ever convince him to give them back to the zoo."
"We can't. He knows that humans hunt them. He'll never give them up. Maybe we should contact Visser One again…?"
"What do you think she'll want in exchange this time?" asked another Controller.
"I don't know." Rachel's Controller exhaled heavily. "But do we have a choice? Do we want to be eaten alive?"
"That was always a risk," pointed out the woman.
"Alright, point taken, but—"
"Take the cat to his quarters, before he gets back," said one of the other Controllers. "We'll try to think of something later."
Rachel's Controller nodded and went off hurrying down the halls, too fast for Rachel to keep track of where they were going. They took a dropshaft up to a floor she'd never seen before. It was quiet, and the only people around were a pair of Hork-Bajir Controllers wearing the uniform of Visser Three's personal guard. When they saw the man holding Rachel, one of them unlocked a door for him. The Controller brought her inside.
The room looked like a rather nice apartment—or it would have been, if everything wasn't covered in a solid layer of dust and cat hair. Rachel was dropped unceremoniously on the ground, though she landed on her feet without even thinking about it. The door slammed shut behind her. The Controller was gone.
Her cat nose could tell that there were many, many other cats here. At least ten, possibly more. She'd known this already from their last mission, but it was one thing to be told about it in housefly morph and something else entirely to experience it firsthand. The unfamiliar scents made her uneasy and when Rachel was uneasy she was also annoyed, shading to angry.
Rachel looked around for cameras. There didn't seem to be any, but she wanted to be safe. She climbed under one of the couches (why did a quadruped alien need couches?) and began to morph back to human. It was a tight squeeze—a grown-up never would have fit—and she felt the sofa rise up as she grew larger. But once Rachel was certain that she was fully human, she went right back into her housecat morph.
Satisfied that she had two hours to work with, Rachel began exploring. There was a room that looked like an office, except she had no idea how any of the technology worked. Ax could have told her, but Ax wasn't here. Rachel liked Ax. He fought well and tended to do what she said. But he would have snitched to Jake so she couldn't invite him along.
* * *
Cassie was now ankle-deep in the Pacific Ocean, facing the horizon. The rest of her weird little club was standing a few feet away on the shoreline, and Jake could not help but feel a little concerned.
Cassie raised her arms up. Her t-shirt flapped dramatically in the wind as the waves crashed around her.
"We humble servants of the sea call upon the creatures of the deep to give us their blessing!"
"Give us their blessing," chanted the group, as one.
"What?" said Jake. He ran to her, soaking his sneakers, and grabbed her by the shoulder. Cassie's eyes were gleaming with an odd emotion that Jake could not identify.
"He interrupts the ceremony!" Cassie cried.
"What the f—"
"The ceremony," intoned the others. Jake felt hands grabbing at him, pulling him back to shore. He tried to slap them away, but he was greatly outnumbered, and he knew he couldn't risk morphing, even now.
"Cassie!" he yelled. "Have you lost your mind? If this is a joke, it's not funny!"
But Cassie was utterly enraptured by whatever the hell she was trying to do, and she didn't respond.
"I thought the idea was to take members away from the mind-control club, not start your own!" Jake yelled, desperately.
"Oh Jake," sighed Cassie. "I should have known you would never understand. You pitiful human."
Jake wasn't proud of what he did next, but it was the only thing he could think of.
He ran away screaming.
to be continued
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