Six Days The Animorphs Were Idiots
The Day Jake Got So Wasted: Part Two
With everyone in smaller morphs, the little Bug suddenly seemed much larger than it had before takeoff. Toby still did monopolize most of the space, but it wasn't as bad as everyone had been expecting. Currently, it was Jake's turn to be a human. They were trading off according to a combination of Ax's suggestions and their own whims.
They had been in Z-space for a while now, and the little Bug had been set to autopilot. A few minutes ago, Ax had promised it would not be too much longer until they would arrive in Andalite space. In the meantime, the Animorphs mostly passed the time by talking or napping. Toby and Ax had both brought gardening magazines, which they traded with each other.
"So, what exactly is going to be stopping the Andalites from blasting us to bits when they see us? This is a Yeerk ship, after all," said Jake.
<A lone Yeerk ship,> corrected Ax. It was very odd to see a wolf spider poring over a selection of rosebushes. <And a very small one. They will take us in for interrogation.>
"Oh, well that's just fine then," muttered Jake. He was getting sort of hungry, so he opened up the largest cooler, hoping someone had the foresight to pack cereal or something. There were a lot of prepackaged cinnamon buns, which he was not at all in the mood for. There was also ice cream, potato chips, cans of soda, a big bag of skittles.
<Don't eat too much,> cautioned Cassie.
"I'm not eating any of this. It's still like nine in the morning." Jake's fingers closed around something cold, and he pulled out a glass bottle. "What is this, even?" Jake examined the bottle. It said Bailey's. "Cream?"
<Dad puts it in his coffee,> said Marco. <It's probably pure sugar. The Andalites will love it.>
<You're an idiot, Marco,> said Princess Rachel, but she did not elaborate.
In retrospect, perhaps Jake should have wondered about that.
* * *
<I want to try some,> said Ax plaintively.
"No. Ish mine. Getcher own," said Jake. It had been about an hour since he'd first opened the bottle, and fifteen minutes since he'd stopped noticing the funny aftertaste that the drink had. It had been sort of unpleasant at first, but now he couldn't taste it at all.
<Jake, are you feeling alright?> Cassie was morphing back to human at an incredible speed.
"I feel great." And he did. A little dizzy, but happier than he'd been in a long time. "You know, you know, I was mad at you…I was mad at you. All of you. Animalorphs. But thisis a greatidea. Agreatidea. Outer space was a great idea."
"I think he is ill," said Toby.
"He was fine an hour ago," said Cassie. She pressed a hand to Jake's forehead like she was taking his temperature. "I'm so stupid, I forgot to bring any sort of medicine at all!"
"Nooo," said Jake. "You're not suuuhstupid. You are so smart. You are so smart and pretty and—"
"Quiet time, Jake," said Cassie. "Ax, is this a normal side effect of space travel or something?"
<Space madness!> said Marco.
<Morons,> said Princess Rachel.
<No, I do not believe that such a thing exists,> said Ax. <Though I cannot speak for your species as a whole, of course.>
<Morons,> said Rachel again.
"Rachel, if you have nothing to contribute, can you be quiet while I try and figure out what's wrong with him?" snapped Cassie, completely comfortable with the fact that she was yelling at a housecat.
<If you want to know what's wrong with him, take a closer look at that bottle,> said Rachel.
"What are you talking about?" But Cassie took the bottle of 'cream' out of Jake's hand and began to read aloud. "Bailey's. The Original Irish Cream. Product of Ireland. The original. And then some dude's signature. Is Jake lactose intolerant? Is that what you're trying to tell me?"
"That's all there is!"
<Small words. Very bottom. I can see it from here.>
"Alc. 17% volum…RACHEL!"
Rachel leapt out of Cassie's reach with feline ease. <Hahaha! I can't believe nobody caught that!>
<Are you saying Jake is drunk?> asked Tobias.
"Pfft! I'm not…I'm not drunk. Whaaat?"
"What is drunk?" asked Toby.
<You're too young to know,> said Marco.
"So are we! I am going to KILL you, Rachel!" Cassie screamed. "Morph to something that isn't cute so I can kill you!"
"We're coming out of Z-space," said Toby, rushing back to the controls. "Everyone hold on. There may be a bit of a bump."
"And you!" Cassie pointed to Marco. "What were you thinking!? Are you completely insane? Did you think this would be funny?"
<Hey, don't yell at me! I didn't know it was alcoholic. My dad puts it in his coffee. I thought it was like one of those coffee-mate creamers.>
<You can hardly see it on the bottle,> agreed Tobias. <The only place it tells you it's alcohol is really tiny.>
<You guys are such babies,> said Rachel. <Anyway, Jake needed to chill out. And he's not mad at me. Right Jake?>
Jake replied by throwing up on the floor.
"The Andalites are hailing us!" cried Toby, cutting off whatever Cassie was about to say. "Ax, maybe you should take over from here."
Ax was demorphing as fast as he could, but the Bug was now far more crowded than it had been earlier. Tripping over the others, he made his way to the communications system and turned on the visual. A very suspicious Andalite soldier glared at him.
<This is Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill, brother of Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul!> he cried. <We are not Yeerks. We have been stranded on Earth for almost a year, and we need to speak with someone important.>
<If you are not Yeerks, then why do you have a Hork-Bajir on board?>
<Toby is an ally. There is a settlement of free Hork-Bajir on Earth. She speaks for them. Will you grant us clearance to land?>
<Wait.> The screen went blank. Ax turned around. Cassie was trying to clean up Jake with a spare t-shirt. Rachel, Tobias, and Marco were sitting as far out of reach as they could get.
<All things considered, I believe that we are doing very well,> he said.
* * *
An Andalite, a Hork-Bajir, a housecat, a spider, a squirrel, a hawk, and two humans (one supporting the other) emerged from the stolen Bug fighter very slowly. Before them were at least thirty Andalite warriors, all armed with shredders.
<Stop,> commanded a thought-speak voice. <Demorph immediately.>
"Just gimme a second," mumbled Jake.
<Should we?> asked Marco privately. <If any of these guys are Controllers…>
<They've already seen Jake and Cassie,> said Rachel. <What's the point?>
<The point is, we should try to pass as Andalites to as many people as we can.>
<…which means acquiring Andalite DNA.> Rachel was stoked. She changed her thought-speak from private to public. <Sorry, sir, we can't do that.>
<Humans, if you do not cooperate with me, I will order my troops to open fire.>
<So much for that,> said Marco.
<I advise you do as he says,> said Ax.
Everyone demorphed, somewhat reluctantly.
<You too,> said the Andalite who appeared to be in charge, indicating Tobias with his shredder. <I don't have all day, you know.>
<Sir, Tobias is a nothlit,> said Ax. The Andalite's reaction was instantaneous. He recoiled as if Ax had told him Tobias had the disease that made you run around with no pants. It took him a few minutes to recover.
<Very well. All of you will follow me. You are under guard. If you try anything suspicious, you will be shot. Understood?>
"Where are we being taken?" asked Marco.
<You will be appearing before the Council,> said the Andalite. <You have upset a rather large number of very important people.>
Ax fell over.
* * *
They were left in an expansive garden that Ax said was sort of like a human waiting room. Toby had wandered off to taste the plants. Cassie was helping Jake lie down in the shade. Rachel and Tobias were probably making out somewhere. Marco was just mad that they hadn't been allowed to listen to the Andalite Council deliberate.
Nothing interesting happened until a new Andalite arrived. Sensing someone who might loan her DNA, Rachel was up in a flash, with Tobias close behind.
This Andalite was female, with violet fur. Rachel circled the alien (who was starting to look a bit uncomfortable) and clicked her tongue disapprovingly when she saw her tail.
"Ignore her, she's insane," said Marco. "Are you here to take us to the Council? Because we've been waiting for—"
<Ah. No.> The Andalite smiled with her eyes. <My name is Shruta-Iilawyn-Aitarro.>
"Alright," said Rachel, clearly impatient. "Can I borrow your—"
<And my name is Lissit 382 of the Choroll pool,> Shruta continued.
"Uh-oh," said Marco.
<WHAT?> demanded Ax.
<We mean you no harm,> said Shruta/Lissit, putting her hands out to show that she had no weapons. <We have been sent as a representative from the Yeerk Peace Movement. Which of you is Cassie?>
"She is." Marco pointed to Cassie, who was now fanning Jake while he babbled incoherently. Rachel motioned to her to come over. Cassie was up in a moment.
"What's going on? Who is she?"
<It is an honor to meet you,> said Shruta/Lissit, still ridiculously cheerful (especially for an Andalite), <With your consent, we will take you to the highest ranking member of the Yeerk Peace Movement.>
"Hang on, nobody is taking Cassie anywhere without the rest of us," said Marco. "And how do we know this isn't a trap?"
<An Andalite working with the Yeerks? It could only be a trap,> said Ax. <I will call the guards immediately—>
"I don't think it is," said Cassie. "She knows about the movement. And she knew to ask for me. If the Yeerks wanted us, they could shoot us right this minute. Snipe us from the trees."
"Weak. Try again," said Marco.
"Fine. The Andalites knew we were humans. They've known since Ax first contacted them, almost a year ago. And we know the Yeerks have Andalite hosts. So the Yeerks could easily tell the guys stationed on Earth who the ‘Andalite Bandits' really are. But they haven't. Someone's been protecting us."
<Your boss?> Tobias asked Shruta/Lissit.
<Yes.> Green Andalite eyes smiled. <Cassie's presence was requested, though I would be happy to bring the rest of you along as well.>
"We can't all go," said Cassie. "Someone's got to take care of Jake."
<Your leader is wounded?> Shruta/Lissit glanced over at Jake. She looked a bit concerned.
"No, just, uh, ill," said Cassie.
<He has the disease that makes you run around with no pants,> explained Tobias.
<Ohhh,> said Shruta/Lissit. <We still haven't worked out a cure for that.>
"He'll be fine in a few hours. I think. Rachel, it's your fault, so you have to watch him," said Cassie.
"What? That's not fair!"
"Actually, it's pretty much the definition of fair," said Marco.
"I hate you guys."
"Tell it to your therapist."
"Marco, I'm gonna kick your—"
<I'll keep you company, Rachel,> said Tobias.
"No. It's alright. You should go." Rachel looked annoyed still. "Seeing as I won't be there to save their sorry butts when this turns out to be a trap."
<I will stay as well,> said Ax. <Protecting Prince Jake is my highest priority. And I would be committing treason if I went with a confessed Yeerk.>
"They're not usually like this," Cassie reassured Shruta. "Where exactly are you planning on taking us?"
<You are in luck. We will not even be leaving the Andalite Homeworld. The journey will be short and we will get you back before the Council is ready to see you.>
"Right, great, I'm sure the Andalite event planners will be thrilled," said Marco. "But what about your leader? Who is he, exactly? Anyone we should know?"
<Her name is Emiki 255, and she is the head of the Yeerk invasion of the Andalite Homeworld,> said Shruta/Lissit. <But she is better known as Visser Five.>
The Animorphs looked at each other. They looked at Shruta/Lissit.
Marco said, "That makes no s—"
to be continued
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