Six Days the Animorphs Were Idiots
The Day Rachel Went to Therapy: Part Three
"What?" asked Jake.
"We believe that all the employees are now Controllers. This is the fastest infestation of any establishment we've seen so far."
"What could the Yeerks want with a restaurant?" wondered Cassie.
"Poison the food?" suggested Marco halfheartedly.
"Come on, we know they don't want to kill off good potential hosts," said Jake. "And Erek said it was an upscale place. If they wanted to get to lots of people, they'd just take over McDonalds. Which apparently they already have."
"So it's about quality, not quantity," said Marco. "What sorts of people go to five-star restaurants? Rich people with powerful jobs. Aka, awesome hosts."
"That's what we were thinking," Erek nodded. "But we checked the computers. There are no particularly notable reservations scheduled for the near future."
"I still want to get in there and take a look around," said Jake.
"We thought you might, so Jenny and I made reservations for tonight. We can sneak you guys in if you use a morph small enough to fit inside her purse."
"Aww, that's sweet," teased Marco. "Jake, why don't you ever take me to a five-star restaurant?"
"Go to hell, Marco," grumbled Jake. "Erek, I hope your dad has a credit card."
* * *
Mr. King had altered his hologram to look like some old bald guy with a beard and a cigar. When Rachel demanded to know what the point of that was, the Chee said that he was being traditional.
Rachel didn't know what was traditional about talking to an alien dog robot disguised as an old man, but she didn't argue because she just wanted to get it all over with.
"Aren't you going to show me pictures and ask me what I see in them?" asked Rachel, craning her neck to look at Mr. King. He was sitting behind her, so she couldn't actually see what he was doing. It was sort of annoying.
"Not today," said Mr. King, blowing holographic smoke rings. "I thought we could start out by talking about your place in the war."
"I don't think it's such a big deal," sulked Rachel. "I think everyone should be happy that I make such a good warrior. I mean what if we were all like Cassie? We'd never get anything done. Not that there's anything wrong with Cassie being how she is. But it's a good thing there's only one of her. Now, if there was two of me, this war would be over."
"Sometimes, before I met Elfangor, I felt like I was born in the wrong century, you know? Like maybe I was just meant to live back when you beat someone up if you didn't like the way they looked at you and the person who could beat up the most people got to be in charge. I don't think it's about right or wrong, I think it's about what the people around you think is right and wrong. I don't even know if that makes sense. It sounded better in my head."
"And how do you feel when you beat people up?"
"What sort of question is that? It makes me feel powerful, obviously. But I don't think I was the only person born in the wrong time." Rachel craned her neck to look at the Chee. "Maybe back in ancient Greece, there was like, a Spartan who just wanted to read books and plant flowers, but society said he had to beat everyone up. So I don't think it's about being crazy or not crazy. I think it's about being in the right place at the right time."
The Chee made a sound to let her know he was listening.
"And what if there's more people like me out there right now?" Rachel continued. "And they'd have been awesome warriors, but they didn't get to meet Elfangor, so it'll never happen and they just have to go on living their normal lives, going to school and then getting a job in an office or whatever. It's actually really sad when you think about it."
"And so…?" Mr. King prompted.
"And so who cares if I beat people up? We're in a war! Get over it!"
* * *
A few inches away from Jenny's elbow was a silver purse. Inside were Jake, Marco, Cassie, and Ax all in fly morph. Tobias was outside, surveying the area for trouble. The Animorphs-as-flies couldn't see much, but Erek and Jenny spoke to them in soft, casual voices so it looked like they were just talking to each other.
The restaurant did not have very many tables, and they were all full. All the men were in suits and the women wore dresses, though nobody else had one made of pink sequins. Jenny was happily describing their surroundings for the humans.
"Do you hear that music? There's a live string quartet on the dais."
"The far wall is a mural of a balcony, it almost looks real, like you could walk out onto it."
"Oooh, you just missed the most amazing dessert cart ever."
"There's candles on the table, I hope we don't burn the place down."
"I like these chandeliers, they reminds me of when worked for that king in France, what was his name?"
"This menu doesn't even have prices on it."
<And you're not even able to taste the food,> said Cassie. <Talk about unfair.>
<Ask them to box it up,> suggested Marco. <We can split it afterwards.>
<I don't think this is that kind of place,> said Jake.
"Here comes the waiter," said Erek, and the conversation stopped. The Animorphs listened as the two Chee placed their orders. Eventually, they heard the sound of the waiter's footsteps moving away.
"Oh, you're not going to believe this," said Erek, continuing to keep his tone casual.
<What?> asked Jake.
"Visser Three just sat down at a table across the room."
<That's impossible. Are you sure?>
"It's either him or the person he acquired his human DNA from," said Jenny.
<You can tell it's him if he has an aura of evil!> said Cassie.
"Excuse me?" said Erek.
<His evil aura,> said Marco. <Cassie's right. You always know when he's around because he radiates evil.>
"With all due respect, I don't think—"
<We've all felt it!> insisted Jake.
"Perhaps your fear of him causes you to project an impression—"
<No, it's real.>
"Well I am not detecting any evil auras in the vicinity," said Erek dryly.
<Of course not. You're a robot,> said Cassie patiently. <You can't detect the value judgments of a random alien culture.>
"Are there maybe some other Animorphs we can work with?" Jenny asked Erek.
"Anyway, it is him," said Erek. "It's definitely him."
<How do you know?> asked Jake.
"Because Visser One just walked in," said Jenny.
<Calm down, Marco.>
"She's sitting down at his table," reported Erek.
<Do they look like they're going to hurt each other?> asked Jake.
"No, I don't think so. She's smiling. He just took her hand."
<I AM GOING TO KICK HIS ASS!> yelled Marco.
<Are we going to have a battle?> Ax asked, showing interest in the proceedings for the first time all day.
<This is not okay. This is not okay,> said Marco. <This is really really not okay.>
<Marco, calm down.>
<MAKE ME! I ought to go over there and—>
<And what, Marco? Yell at Visser One for having low standards and oh, by the way, I'm an Animorph and we've been fighting you guys for months, please don't kill our families?>
"Jake is right, Marco," said Erek. "Besides, that is not your mother, as you frequently seem to forget."
<I…I guess you're right…>
"Besides, your mother would never wear a dress like that."
<A DRESS LIKE WHAT?>
"I like it," said Jenny. "It is a very nice shade of red. But I am afraid she might catch a cold."
<OH I AM GOING TO KILL THEM BOTH—> But before Marco could do anything, Jenny zipped her purse shut.
<Hey! What are you doing?> demanded Jake.
"I'm very sorry," said Jenny. "But I cannot allow Marco to jeopardize your identities. I can release you outside if you wish, or we can continue our observation. But I—"
Just then, someone screamed. There was the sound of glass hitting the floor and chairs being knocked over.
"OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT THING?"
"SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE!"
The Animorphs felt Jenny's purse move. They were being carried somewhere very quickly.
<Erek! What's happening?> demanded Jake.
"He's morphing," said Jenny from somewhere very close. "Visser Three is morphing!"
<How could he have possibly figured out we're here?>
"I don't think he did," said Erek. Jenny set the purse down on the ground and unzipped it. Florescent light flooded into the bag.
"We're in the bathroom. You can demorph here," said Jenny. "Just make sure you don't squish each other."
<Battle morphs?> asked Cassie.
<Yeah,> said Jake. <I want to know what the heck is happening.>
"I'll try to find out," said Jenny, getting up. Then, in a flash of pink, she was gone. As the Animorphs demorphed and then remorphed into their battle forms, they could hear her yelling from the next room.
"You there! What has happened? Why did the Visser reveal himself?" Jenny demanded in a cold, un-Jenny-like voice.
"You're—?" whoever she was speaking to sounded terrified.
"My name is Aelle Three-Two-Two of the Tai Nare pool," said Jenny impatiently. "My companion and I must conduct a courtship so our hosts may be married and inherit a large segment of a weapons development company. We would like to know why Visser Three decided to come here and turn into a giant purple accordion porcupine."
<Wow, we suck at lying compared to her,> Marco said.
"Nobody knows!" cried the other Controller. "They're saying on the Blade ship that he's got some sort of illness! The one that makes you run around with no pants! He's been morphing like a crazy person all day long!"
"The Visser never wears pants."
"I know! That's why it doesn't make sense!"
"What are our orders?"
"Don't get eaten!"
"Incompetent!" Jenny screamed. "Never mind. I'll deal with this myself. The rest of you idiots get out of here. Go!"
The Animorphs heard the Controller run away. Jenny pulled the bathroom door open again. A wolf, tiger, gorilla, and Andalite were squeezed inside uncomfortably. Erek was squished against the far wall, his hologram slightly disrupted from the pressure.
"All clear," reported Jenny. "Go do whatever it is that you do."
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