Saturday, June 23, 2012

Book 38: The Arrival


The Summary
The Andalite fleet is here! Lol, jk, not really. It's actually a single tiny, outdated scientific vessel. Onboard are four Andalites: Abrat (Alloran's brother), Aloth (a sniper), Gonrod (the captain) and Estrid (a girl). They are obviously up to something shady, and claim they have come to earth to assassinate Visser Three.

Ax immediately falls in love with Estrid, and the Animorphs pretend to break up so that Ax is free to work with/spy on the other Andalites. He runs around with Estrid for a little while, and they attempt to kill Visser Three but Abrat screws it up and kills Aloth instead.

Ax is starting to realize that certain things about the crew don't make sense, so he gets Mr. King to help him hack into the ship's computers. He learns that Aloth and Gonrod already listed as dead, the ship is listed as destroyed, and Estrid does not exist.

Ax goes to Estrid for answers, only to find that the whole assassination thing is a ruse. The real reason they are on earth is to release a virus that kills Yeerks. Sound familiar? Estrid created/discovered this virus, but there is a problem. It might possibly probably mutate to attack humans, but she is still working on it and it will be fine, really! Except Abrat has no more patience, so he locks Estrid and Ax up and takes the virus down to the Yeerk pool.

Luckily, the other Animorphs were hiding on the ship the whole time. Everyone follows Abrat down to the Yeerk pool, where they stop him from releasing the virus. They all escape, Abrat is eaten by Taxxons, and the surviving Andalites are told to go home and not come back.

The Review
Adam: Well, this book wasn't really very morph-heavy, which I suppose explains the cover.
Ifi: Compare this cover to the cover of book 31, if you will
Adam: I was going to compare it more to 33
Ifi: Yeah also valid
Adam: But yeah, bird of prey covers just end up looking kind of generic at this point

Ifi: We open with Mr. King getting his ass kicked by a couple of Controllers
Ifi: IDK why he doesn't just get up and walk home.
Adam: Well, they would follow him. Then the Yeerks would know where the Chee hideout is
Ifi: Well, the Chee have already demonstrated superspeed
Adam: True
Ifi: He could just be like The Flash
Ifi: Zip! Gone!
Ifi: And if his identity has been compromised, then he can alter his hologram.
Adam: Now for that matter, how much do the Yeerks know about the Chee?
Ifi: Nothing, supposedly
Adam: I mean, they have been aboard their ship, and they previously had their computer system
Adam: But do they know that there are a bunch of androids infiltrating their ranks, or not?
Adam: It is very vague

"Visser Three will wonder why we did not simply infest him and learn the truth."

"I tell you there is something wrong with this human. I tried to enter the ear canal, but it's blocked in some way. You don't believe me, you try it!"

<Ax? What happens if they hit the Chee with a Dracon beam? Can they fry him?> Prince Jake asked me in the thought-speak language we use while in morph.

<I am assuming that it would depend on the amount of power used. A low setting might only disturb the Chee's holographically projected body. It would reveal the android beneath. But a full power setting could very possibly destroy Mr. King entirely. Which would be worse from our own narrow perspective? It is an interesting question.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: The fact that this "human" can block himself from being infested should be eight hundred more times important to the Yeerks than whatever he was doing that caused them to beat him with pipes.
Adam: Well, I suppose they could think he had some sort of sophisticated earplug in or something

Ifi: Everyone morphs to save him, but it turns out IT'S A TRAP
Ifi: And, oddly, Visser Three engages Ax in a tail-blade fight, rather than morphing to something insane
Ifi: I guess that means this is a book about Andalite culture
Adam: Well, it was a cramped hallway, but yes, pretty much.
Ifi: So the Animorphs are outnumbered approximately a bazillion to one
Ifi: All hope is lost!
Ifi: It must be Tuesday.
Ifi: But then!

Shredder fire! The sound, so like a Dracon beam, was different enough for any Andalite aristh to recognize.

Tseeew! Tseeew!

Shredder fire, point-blank at the wall of tight packed Hork-Bajir.

<More Andalites?!> Visser Three yelled, his thought-speak voice torn between outrage, fear, and simple disbelief.

Four Andalites jumped from the elevator like bucks clearing a fence. They were everywhere at once. Firing. Whipping their tail blades with deadly precision.

They were magnificent.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Oh hey
Ifi: LOOK WHO FINALLY DECIDED TO SHOW UP
Adam: Andalites hold procrastination as one of their most valued art forms
Adam: Also, Ax now has a thing for the sexy lady Andalite.
Ifi: I'll have plenty to say about her later.

The Andalite lifted his shredder. It would be a point-blank killing.

I felt a surge of hot joy in my heart.

Visser Three looked at the Andalite. <Arbat!>

The Andalite's eyes flickered and his finger hesitated on the shredder.

Fwapp!

With the flat of his tail blade, the visser smacked the weapon from his assailant's hand.

<You never could see that one coming, could you, Arbat?> Visser Three laughed. <That's what comes of thinking too much and tail fighting too little.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Visser Three, that was NOT NICE
Adam: So there is clearly some bad blood between these two, that we will learn more of later
Ifi: The cops show up, so everyone decides to run away

<Wait!> I cried as the Andalites galloped down what was left of the hall. <Who are you? Where can I find you?>

The female turned. <I am Estrid-Corill- Darrath. Do not worry. We will find you, Aximili- Esgarrouth-lsthill.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Adam: Well, that's not in any way suspicious, that's for sure

<These warriors are true Andalites,> I insisted. <I know this. When I fought beside the female, I felt a sense of connection unlike anything I have felt before.>

Another look passed from face to face. This time, it appeared to be one of amusement.

"Ax," Cassie said. "I think you have what is commonly known as a crush."

<A what?>

"A feeling that makes it hard for you to see the truth, if the truth is unpleasant," she explained.

[...]

I left the barn and galloped until both my hearts were pounding. I was angry, but that emotion cooled quickly enough. The emotion that replaced it did not cool.

She was beautiful.

She was so beautiful.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Ax is in looooooooooooooove

Adam:

Adam: Well, he's been away from his own species for the past two years now.
Adam: I can't say I blame him too much
Ifi: Be still, my beating hearts.
Ifi: From this point on, Ax is tearing his fur out because he cannot handle waiting to hear from the Andalites again
Ifi: So Tobias takes him to get cinnamon buns

We heard the commotion the moment we entered the first floor. It was coming from the food court.

"Beanzuh! Beanzuh! Zuh!" I heard a girl shout.

"Somebody get security!" a woman yelled.

"What's going on?" someone else asked.

"Some girl went berserk in the food court," another person answered. "Eating everything in sight and yelling like a lunatic."


----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Welp.
Adam: So here I was just thinking that Ax happened to be a foodie.
Adam: Since Visser Three never freaks out in that manner at catered events
Ifi: I have always wondered about that.
Ifi: I mean, Yeerks are sensory freaks by nature. Add that to the typical Andalite reaction to food, and he should be rendered incoherent by a glass of lemonade.
Adam: Well, maybe Alloran would freak out if he were by himself, but Esplin has already had a Gedd and a Hork-Bajir host, so he is acclimated to eating stuff
Ifi: Yeah maybe
Adam: But still

A girl around Cassie's age sat crouched in front of bins of blue, green, yellow, red, and black jelly beans at the Candy Land store. She wore a Burger King tunic and slacks. Backward.

A harassed-looking young woman was trying to persuade her to get away from the bin.

"So sweet. So delicious!" The girl was almost weeping with joy. "The taste…overwhelming!"

[...]

"The green are the best!" Estrid said.

The guard looked hard at Tobias. As if he weren't sure whether or not Tobias was telling the truth. "She's on drugs?"

"It's a seizure thing. She was dropped on her head when she was a baby."

"No, the blue! A blue that saturates the very soul with pleasure!"

"Then we should call an ambulance," said the Candy Land lady.

"I like the red ones," a kid in the crowd called out.

"It's happened before," Tobias said. "We know what to do. She calms down…"

"Yes! Red! Red-duh!"

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival


Adam: Am I the only one who doesn't even like jellybeans all that much?
Ifi: You have to get the right brand
Ifi: Starburst ones are great
Ifi: Along with Jelly Belly
Ifi: The big gourmet ones you get at Easter are gross
Adam: I have never even heard of starburst jellybeans
Adam: I've had jelly belly. I like the marshmallow ones, but that's it for me.
Ifi: Really?
Adam: Yep
Ifi: I'd live on them if they weren't so expensive
Adam: That is clearly the best way to live
Adam: I'm more a chocolate fan, myself


Ifi: So, it is time to escape

"Hey!" a male voice shouted behind us. "What are you doing with my sister?"

Tobias turned. "Holy…come on!"

In order to look behind in human morph it is necessary to turn one's head. A dizzying action on only two legs.

I did so and understood the cause of Tobias's alarm.

A very large young man and four of his companions were chasing us.

"She must have morphed his sister. He thinks we're abducting her! Great," Tobias wheezed. "Haul buns."

"Bunzzzzz," I repeated, unable to resist the impulse. "Zuh. Zuh. Zuh."

"Please, Ax," Tobias yelled, breaking into a run. "Not now!"

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival


Ifi: Do I even need to point out how horrible this is?
Ifi: You are out shopping with your sister and see her being dragged away by two strange boys. It looks like she's been drugged. You chase after them with your friends, but they get away.
Adam: Well, I would panic horribly. But then shortly after he finds his sister shopping in the next store, like she was supposed to.
Ifi: I still think the author did not exactly handle the whole thing well
Adam: Perhaps, yes
Adam: Fortunately, the narrative loses track of what could very well be a horrible situation, and instead Jake and Ax go to meet with the Andalites.

I said nothing. Aristhsdo not speak until spoken to.

Most arisths.

<This is Aximili-Esgarrouth-lsthill,> Estrid said. <These Andalite warriors are Commander Gonrod-Isfall-Sonilli, Intelligence Advisor Arbat-Elivat-Estoni, and Aloth-Attamil-Gahar.>

I saw Commander Gonrod's face tense at her forwardness. But he did not reprimand her. Arbat's eyes smiled slyly.

<And this alien?> Commander Gonrod demanded.

<This is Jake. My prince.>

Gonrod snorted. <Your prince? You insult the highest ranking Andalite within light-years by announcing your allegiance to a human child?>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: In case you'd forgotten, this is what Andalites are like.
Adam: Nah, it's fairly explicit that Gonrod is just a jackass.
Adam: With that said, "Gonrod" is really funny to say outloud.
Adam: gonrodgonrodrodgonrodgon
Adam: I am a mature adult, if you hadn't noticed.

Ifi: The text wastes no time implying that this little team is basically a collection of rejects that no one else wanted to deal with.

I was almost too disappointed to respond. I did not abandon hope. But my optimism was sharply reduced. I could only confirm what Prince Jake suspected. <Commander is a rank most often held by an Andalite in command of a single ship. A single small ship.>

"I see."

<There goes our plan to bluff the enemy into thinking they are outnumbered.> Aloth let out a crack of laughter. Highly insubordinate.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Adam: So, the Andalites finally come to earth, and they're a bunch of complete incompetents.
Adam: Eh, pretty much to be expected.
Ifi: Right? At this point, it would just be weird if something favorable happened.
Adam: I honestly think that this team could make a very interesting cast for their own set of novels.
Adam: There is plenty of interesting bickering, that's for certain.

<Support?> Gonrod snorted again. <You consider us support? Are all humans as ignorant and arrogant as you, man-child?> Gonrod began to pace. <You are an untrained human child, playing at war. We are highly trained warriors. You and your band, whoever they may be, will cease to fight. That is an order.>

"I don't take orders," Prince Jake snapped. "I give them. And now, this meeting is over." He turned and began to walk away.

<Aristh Aximili!> Gonrod shouted. <Stay where you are.>

<Commander Gonrod. I respectfully remind you that an Andalite's allegiance is to his prince.>

<You are disobeying a direct order.>

I followed Prince Jake.

<Aloth! Arbat!> Gonrod shouted. <Shredders on lowest setting. Fire on Aristh Aximil!>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: You are the worst. Commander. Ever.



Adam: Again, pretty much to be expected
Ifi: <FIRE ON THIS UNARMED CHILD. NOW.>
Adam: But, the Animorphs at this point are much more experienced then this team of trained soldiers, and one-up them pretty much immediately.
Ifi: Which is just sad

<Unfortunately, Commander Gonrod, I am being prevented from using my weapon,> Arbat answered. <I believe Aloth is similarly situated.>

Aloth had apparently not noticed. Now he looked down in horror. A pit viper wound itself around his right foreleg. Cassie, of course. And a cobra reared up just between Arbat's legs. Marco.

Estrid took a step forward and reached for her own shredder.

Fwapp!

I brought my tail blade to a quivering halt millimeters from her throat. Her eyes blazed in anger.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Hooray for competence!
Adam: It’s always a good sign, being shown up by middle schoolers

But Gonrod had recovered. <I command, here. Am I clear on that?>

"No, sir. This is Earth. This is a human planet. We are not the Hork-Bajir. We know how you 'rescued them.' As long as you're on Earth, you'll get along with us. Am I clear on that?"

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: This right here?
Ifi: One of the best lines in the whole series
Adam: This is why I like Jake

Adam: So now we get a bit of an explanation of what the Andalite military has been up to this whole time.

<After the unexpected victory on Leera, major elements of the fleet were ordered to Earth. But it was diverted to the Rakkam Garoo conflict in the Nine-Sifter system.>

<What, are you people on call for every war in the galaxy?> Marco muttered.

"So Earth waits. Again," Prince Jake said. "You're not the fleet, so who are you?"

<Unit 0. A sabotage and assassination team,> Arbat explained. <Commander Gonrod is one of the ablest pilots in the fleet. Aloth is a warrior.>

<An assassination team? Who is the assassin?>

<I am,> Aloth said.

I tried not to stare at him. I had never met an assassin. I had not known any existed in the Andalite military. The notion of such a thing did not make me comfortable.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Whaaaat? My government is doing shady secret things during a war?
Adam: Um
Adam: You planned an assassination mission on Visser Three right in the last book...
Adam: Cheetahs, remember?

"What about Estrid?" Prince Jake asked.

Gonrod looked slightly embarrassed. <Female arisths are a new addition to the military. She was assigned to this mission by accident.>

Estrid's four eyes stared at blank space. Blinked rapidly. A sign of embarrassment. I felt sorry for her.

"In other words, she's a rookie?" Jake said.

Estrid lifted her head. <I have trained hard,> she replied in a steely tone. <Make no mistake. I intend to carry my weight.>

Fwapp!

I reeled as the force of her small, female tail blade caught the side of my neck, knocking me off balance.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: To prove this, she beats up Ax for no real reason
Adam: So, we've got the hotheaded pilot, the stoic assassin, the mad scientist, and the intern
Adam: Yeah, I would totally read a book about these guys
Ifi: Then they proceed to have a tail-blade fight, which appears to be their way of flirting
Adam: And we get some Andalite sexism!
Adam: Yayyy

Estrid bucked forward, preparing to pivot on her front legs and deliver another tail blow. I pivoted, too, turning out of the way.

She missed me. Overshot. The weight and momentum of her tail sent her tumbling forward.
She rolled over her head and neck and landed on her back with a cry of pain.

Arbat ran forward. <Estrid!>

She lay still for a moment. Then she began to laugh. <You beat me with the simplest move in the lexicon.>

<Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective,> I replied.

If she had been a male, I would have begun to boast. But it seemed less than gracious to boast about beating a female. Even one who was very, very good.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Adam: Oh Ax, you stay classy
Ifi: He's a product of his society.
Adam: Alas, it is true
Ifi: Anyway, he is not sexist at all against human or Hork-Bajir females. Only Andalite.
Adam: Actually, that's an interesting point 
Adam: Though perhaps it is because he cannot tell human sexes apart so immediately, so he doesn't really think of us in terms of sexes, so much as just "humans"
Ifi: Also, Rachel
Adam: True

Arbat's face betrayed no emotion. <My brother is Alloran. Host body to Visser Three.>

I was not equally controlled. I jerked involuntarily.

Prince Jake's eye narrowed. "So you're here to…"

<To assassinate him,> Arbat answered. <Yes. Our mission is to kill Visser Three.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: DUN DUN DUNNNN
Adam: So in a way, Visser Three has two brothers that hate his guts.
Ifi: Also, Andalite military? Maybe you should have sent an assassin a little less emotionally invested in this mission.
Adam: Well, Aloth is the assassin, not Arbat.
Adam: But yes

Ifi: Cassie takes issue with this plan, for some reason.
Ifi: She says that killing Alloran, even if it would result in Visser Three's death, is wrong
Adam: Even though she was part of an assassination mission last week.
Adam: And they have tried the exact same thing dozens of times by now
Ifi: Yeah.
Ifi: I don't
Ifi: even
Ifi: what
Ifi: just
Ifi: fuck it
Adam: Well said.

"Exactly!" Cassie said. "It's personal. It's political. But there's no strategic value to the mission. No real military advantage. So that just makes it murder."

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: I'm sorry?
Ifi: There is no strategic or military value to killing a high-ranking enemy officer who can also turn into any number of horrific monsters and has a habit of eating sentient beings while they’re still alive, friend and foe alike?
Adam: Even if his host body was nothing special, killing him would cause the Yeerks to scramble to get themselves a new leader for the invasion, and the ensuing chaos would give the Animorphs a huge advantage.
Ifi: The thing that makes Visser Three the most dangerous at this point is his Andalite host. Don't get me wrong, he's got legitimate strengths even without it, as we saw in the Hork-Bajir and Andalite Chronicles. But depriving him of his morphing makes the Animorphs like 99% less likely to die on any given mission.
Adam: Basically, this is almost a stereotype of the standard Cassie moral objection.
Adam: She has literally no argument whatsoever here.

"So what's our plan?" Rachel demanded.

Prince Jake said nothing.

It was sad. That is what I realized. Very sad. We had turned to Prince Jake so many times and always he had been there with an answer, a plan, or at least a hope.

Marco slapped Rachel lightly on each cheek.

"Wise up. Any plans we had—or have—are basically worth squat at this point. The war is over. Earth lost."

The explosion was instantaneous.

Rachel lunged for Marco. "Don't you EVER touch me again!" she screamed.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: And that's how Marco died
Adam: Well, this seems like perfectly ordinary behavior for everyone.
Adam: Certainly nothing misleading here.
Adam: This is how we, as humans, act all the time.

Rachel lifted her fist and punched a lantern hanging from a hook. The glass splintered and it fell to the ground.

"I'm through with all of you," she hissed. And stormed from the barn.

Cassie took a broom from the corner and began to sweep up the glass. "Count me out, too," she said softly. "If this war is unwinnable, how do we justify killing Hork-Bajir? Basically, they're prisoners of war. Innocent victims."

"Cassie," Prince Jake pleaded.

A tear rolled down her cheek. "I can't do it anymore." She dropped the broom and ran from the barn.

Marco thrust; his hands into his pockets. "Guess I'm out, too. I'm going to enjoy what time I've got left. Acquire a surfer dude chick magnet. Hang out."

"Marco," Prince Jake whispered. "Please."

Marco put his hand on Prince Jake's shoulder. Let it slip off as he backed away. "Jake. Ax-man. Live long and prosper."

Prince Jake and I were alone. We looked at one another.

<I am still yours to command.> I offered him my hand to shake as humans do.

Prince Jake gripped it. His eyes were sad. "I can't hold you to your oath. The others are right.It's over. Go on. Do what you have to do. And if you can, go home."

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: :(
Adam: The End.
Ifi: Even knowing this was all a setup, it was very powerful
Adam: I dunno, to me it seemed like they were laying it on way too thick
Ifi: Hey, compared to the David thing, this was award-winning acting
Adam: Even to a species that has never interacted with humans before, I feel like the Andalites should have caught on to this pretty quickly

It was peaceful for the first time in a long time. No arguments or debates. Quite pleasant, really.

<Estrid,> I said finally. <lf you are going to acquire Earth morphs, you must learn how to use them. Rabbits do not commonly chase large fourfooted creatures like myself across a field and then into a barn full of shouting humans.>

Under the bottom slat of a stall gate, the small brown rabbit appeared. Estrid quickly demorphed and blinked with embarrassment at her mistake. <I have much to learn.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Adam: Her mother was a professional morpher, i feel like that is a very easy thing to avoid
Ifi: Estrid takes Ax back to the ship, where Arbat and Aloth show him their Shredder collection and they do various other Andalite things
Ifi: Like being sexist
Adam: Yaaaay

<Female arisths. Have they worked out well?>

Aloth snorted again. <I keep waiting for Estrid to find some way of making herself useful.>

<Does she have no duties?>

Aloth shrugged. <None that seem necessary. Gonrod and I both tried to make a detour and drop her at a base. But Arbat was adamant that she remain on board.>

<Why?>

He shrugged. <I cannot think of any reason why he would want an inexperienced female aristh on a mission like this. Especially one who is not exactly regulation issue. She behaves more like a princess than an aristh. And Arbat treats her that way.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Oh, and it turns out Arbat is a retired professor, not a warrior
Ifi: Gee this is not suspicious at all
Ifi: Especially considering that you guys arrived in a scientific vessel
Ifi: You guys wouldn't happen to be planning Hork-Bajir Homeworld 2: Electric Boogaloo, would you?
Adam: Nah, that would just be silly.

Adam: This is pretty much the most we have Aloth speak, which is a shame because I honestly find him pretty interesting.
Adam: he puts on this snarky, silent type persona, but really he's just as crazy as the rest
Ifi: Someone obviously put some thought into these characters, but then never really utilized them to their full potential
Adam: It is an awful shame.

<Tell us about Visser Three.> Arbat seemed eager. Gonrod less so. <Where is he when he is not on his Blade ship?>

<I do not know,> I answered. <How did you find him in the newspaper office?>

<We did not,> Arbat said. <We found you. Our ship sensors were programmed to locate your DNA pattern. We were able to download it from your academy records.>

<Could we not do the same with Alloran's?> I asked.

<Alloran's from the old days. Back before we used DNA encryption.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Big Brother is fucking WATCHING
Adam: Man, that has so many potentially creepy applications, I'm not even sure where to start.
Adam: Also, if they have this technology, couldn't they potentially try to get a DNA sample from Alloran, and then snipe him from orbit or something?

I saw Estrid in the arched doorway that led to the exit corridor. <Commander Gonrod,> she announced.

<I am going on a tour of The Gardens and would like Aximili to accompany me. He can familiarize me with Earth creatures.>

I drew in my breath. I had never heard an aristh "announce" his plans and desires to a superior officer. Typically, he waited for orders.

Gonrod's eye stalks quivered angrily.

Estrid appeared to have no idea she had committed a breach of military conduct. I watched unhappily. I hated to see her rebuked.

Strangely, Gonrod did not do so. <Very well,> he answered curtly.

<Come, Aximili,> she said happily.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Ax has a daaaaate
Ifi: Estrid has never been to the acaaaaaaaademy
Adam: OoooOOOOooo
Adam: And suspicious!

<The pellets called jelly beans. I would love to taste them again before leaving Earth.>

<I believe we could find some pellets close by.>

Side by side, we trotted through the cool, dark night toward the main building. The Visitors' Center. Outside the building was something

Jake and Marco called a "vending machine." A large glass box containing delicious foods. No cinnamon buns or jelly beans. But many other things that would delight Estrid.

I turned and delivered a kick to the machine. Brightly colored packets fell from hooks inside the machine down into a bin into which I was able to reach.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Hooray for robbery!
Adam: Illegal activity is the best way to charm a girl, don't you know?
Ifi: Girls dig bad boys
Adam: I can't really think of any conceivable way that Ax could be considered a "bad boy."
Ifi: He steals cable
Adam: That fiend!
Ifi: Once he tried to go out with no shirt on
Adam: He had been watching too many soap operas beforehand.
Ifi: And he started a riot at the food court
Adam: I would start a riot if delicious pastries were on the line.

The fur disappeared and became smooth and pink. Then, with one burst, the round ball became a human. Fully clothed. In what humans would consider normal clothing.

I was amazed. I had never seen such an efficient morph. And the ability to morph something other than skintight bicycle shorts and T-shirts took almost supernatural powers of concentration.

"You are an estreen…nuh," I said.

"My mmmmmother…ruh. She was a morph…ph dan…dancer…ruh! Danceruh. I learned much from herrrrr!"

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Ok, putting all my issues with Estrid aside, this is actually a really cute scene
Adam: Also, Estrid can morph clothes.
Adam: This really makes me wonder what the Animorphs would be capable of if they had any sort of professional training.

"Yes, mouths are very interesting. M&M's. Chock-lut. Watch this…"

I stuck out my tongue and let it rest lightly on my upper lip. Then I blew out my breath. "Thhhhbbbbbbbbbbb!!!"

Estrid shrieked with laughter.

I did it again. "Thhhhbbbbbbbb!!!"

"What does it mean?" she gasped.

"It is called a raspberry," I said. "I do not know why."

"It would be very hard…hard-duh to have a mouth all the time. Tie-yem. Time-uh. It would be very difficult to concentrate on a plintconarhythmic equation for more than two minutes. One would be too busy tasting chocolate and making rasp…berries…suh!"

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: :3
Adam: And then there is gratuitous smooching.

I took Estrid's face in my hands and I pressed my lips against hers.

I have no words to describe the sensation.

It did not tickle the mouth or cause my lips to tingle. It caused a chaotic flutter in my stomach. Small bumps broke out up and down my arms. I only had one heart now, but it thundered.

I pulled away.

"That was pleasant," Estrid said. "But not as pleasant as chocolate."

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Girl has priorities
Adam: I approve.


Adam: Well, everyone is certainly getting their daily dose of foodporn for the day.
Ifi: Tomorrow I am going to buy chocolate and jelly beans and one of those giant rainbow lollipops
Adam: Send me some
Ifi: Get your own, bitch
Adam: It always tastes better stolen from someone else

"Marco!" Cassie cried, in human form now.

"You've got to help me, Rachel's going totally postal at McDonald's."

"Not my problem. Me, I like Burger King."

Cassie snatched the magazine from Marco's hands. "She's going to kill somebody."

"What's it to you? I thought you were out of this."

"We can't just stand by while innocent people get hurt."

Marco shrugged. "Speak for yourself."

"Where is Jake?" Cassie demanded. "He'll help me."

Marco took the magazine from Cassie's hand and reclined again. "Don't count on it."

"Why? Where is he?"

"I'm in here," a voice answered.

Cassie peered over the door of one of the stalls. "Jake! What are you doing there?"

Prince Jake's head emerged. "Hiding. Tom's been picking on me all afternoon. I can't take it anymore."

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: brb dying
Adam: Like I said. So very subtle.
Ifi: Jake's line just gets me every time
Adam: But…Tom had been picking on him! What else do you expect him to do.
Ifi: A bloo bloo bloo
Adam: Quite.

Ifi: So Ax stops to think about his situation for what I am pretty sure is the first time in ninety pages

Then my breath caught in my chest. I had missed something. Something important. Probably because of my feelings for her.

"It would be very difficult to concentrate on a plintconarhythmic equation for more than two minutes."

Plintconarhythmic physics! Cutting-edge biochemical engineering. Even Andalite intellectuals do not attempt to learn its elegant but complex formulae and postulates. They say that no one really understands it. It requires thinking coherently in n-dimensions. It is the plaything of geniuses.

Why would Estrid be concentrating on a plintconarythmic equation?

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: derpderpderp
Ifi: So Ax decides to check out the ships computers, only to be caught by Aloth, who has basically the most amazing backstory in the whole series
Adam: Kid's book, just to prepare everyone.

Aloth laughed his cynical laugh. <You want to know the secrets? You want to know who we are? I will tell you, little Aximili. You know what I was doing before I "volunteered" for this mission?>

<No.>

<Sitting in military prison. Life sentence.>

I took a step back.

<Do not fear me, little aristh. I am no danger to you. My crime was that I had no use for hypocrisy.>

<Hypocrisy is not illegal.>

<Not all hypocrisy,> he agreed. <If it were, what would we do for leaders? They would all be in jail. Now me, I was caught selling organs. Off the battlefield. They are of no use to the dead, right? Why should someone not make use of them? And why should I not receive something for my trouble?>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Adam: Okay
Adam: I seriously
Adam: Seriously
Adam: Need a book about these guys
Adam: The Andalite Chronicles II
Adam: Or something


Adam: *snorts milk out of nose*
Ifi: :D

Adam: Okay, so for the record, we have a soldier who went AWOL, a criminal with a life sentence for selling black market organs, plus the mad scientist and his assistant.
Ifi: Gonrod's backstory isn't as fun. He was put in jail for cowardice under fire. Which to me doesn't exactly seem like an imprisonable offense, but hey, what do I know about war, I'm just a female. I guess I'll get back in the laboratory.
Adam: Andalite sentences seem to be different.
Adam: Selling organs doesn't really seem worthy of a life sentence to me.

A coward and a murderer. Both Andalite officers.

Were these "my own kind"?

<We were offered the promise of pardon if we successfully completed this mission,> Aloth continued.

<And what about Arbat?>

The assassin shook his head. <As far as I know, he is here to assassinate Visser Three. Gonrod is a coward, but an excellent pilot. His job was to get us here in a substandard ship. Mine is to kill Visser Three if Arbat can get me close enough to do so. With your help Arbat may succeed. Meaning that I succeed.>

<I see. That makes sense.>

<Does it? I am not sure anything makes sense on this mission.>

I did not have anything to say to that. But I had a question. <Aloth, who is really in command of this unit? Arbat? Gonrod? Or is it you?>

Aloth laughed again. <Sometimes, little aristh, I think it is the female.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Adam: Bwuuuuuh?
Adam: A female? In charge of a ship?
Adam: What craziness is this?
Ifi: What is the world coming to?


Ifi: So then it is time for mission!
Ifi: Estrid wants to come, but Gorond yells at her.
Ifi: In all caps
Adam: So, remember in the last book why everyone was yelling about why they just didn't try to shoot Visser Three?
Adam: Well, this is exactly what they are doing.
Ifi: Hooray!

It was risky to attack in our own Andalite forms. But it was the only way we could get to the building with our shredders. And there was a military purity about attacking as the Andalite warriors we were.

<Good fortune, everyone,> Gonrod said.

<We will need it,> Aloth said mordantly.

<Let us rock and roll,> I said, and laughed at the meaninglessness of the statement.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Adam: Ax has clearly spent too much time with humans. It has addled his brain.

And Arbat was within twenty feet. An easy shot. A clear shot. He could kill the Abomination.

And his brother.

I knew suddenly, with the clarity that sometimes comes from moments of great stress, that Arbat would miss.

I lifted my shredder and took careful aim.

Tseeewww!

Shredder fire streaked past Visser Three's head.

Arbat had fired. He'd blown a hole in the curtains gathered on the far side of the stage. An easy shot.

A miss.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Gee I did not see that coming.
Ifi: Not at all
Adam: So then Aloth tries to take his shot. This ends pretty much like one would expect it to.
Ifi: Everyone is tackled by Hork-Bajir and chaos ensues
Ifi: Must be Tuesday

Aloth sank to the floor. He was dead. Shot cleanly through the head.

By Arbat.

An accident?

No. Impossible!

<Retreat!> Arbat ordered, thundering past me.

Aloth was dead. Gonrod probably as well. Arbat was in charge.

Murderer!

My mind reeled. What could I do? The Hork-Bajir were massing for a new charge.

I retreated.

Ran. Ran with my brain replaying it again and again. Arbat had shot Aloth!

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Adam: Must be Tuesday.
Ifi: Andalites suck.
Ifi: Arbat later justifies this by saying they couldn't risk Aloth being captured. Ax calls him out on this but nobody cares.
Ifi: It's the law of the jungle out here on Earth, apparently
Adam: That's clearly the reason why he did it.
Adam: Obviously.
Ifi: So Ax decides it is time to stop screwing around and get some answers

The panel of monitors before me shimmered. And out of the image stepped a thing that seemed to be made of steel and ivory. A machine whose form vaguely suggested that of an Earth canine. The android met my gaze, then shimmered again. Where the android had stood was now a man who called himself Mr. King.

Mr. King. The Chee. Android.

<Your holographic technology is genuinely impressive,> I said. <Thank you for your help.>

"The Chee owe you," he said simply. "Now, let's see about this security system."

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Hooray we are finally taking some initiative!
Adam: Mr. King is getting an unusually large amount of screentime in this book.
Adam: Especially considering we don't even know his first name.
Ifi: Yeah, usually it would be Erek who gets involved in the shenanegans
Adam: it is nice that more of the Chee are getting a bit of exposure, though.

There was a brief pause. Then Aloth's name and record appeared. He was already listed as "Killed in Action."

<Request detail,> I instructed.

A pause.

"He was killed in action in some system called Rakkam Garoo," Mr. King said. "A ship called Ralek River. The ship was destroyed."

<I see. Now Gonrod-lsfall-Sonilli.>

Pause.

"Same story. Identical."

<Arbat-Elivat-Estoni?>

Pause.

The android turned his canid face to me. "You have a bunch of unlucky friends. This one was also killed aboard the Ralek River."

<Yes. Quite a coincidence.>

"Is that it?"

<One more name: Estrid-Corill-Darrath?>

Pause.

"No record."

[…]

I was feeling sick. Scared. Impossible. It was all impossible. A tired old ship sent on a vital mission staffed by misfits who were already listed as dead.

My hearts began a dull, sickening thud.

The Andalite War Council did not expect this ship to return. The Andalite War Council did not want this ship to return.

This ship was on a suicide mission.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Fuck Andalites
Ifi: Really.
Ifi: At least Yeerks stab you in the front.


Adam: So, we finally get the big reveal that has been completely obvious from the beginning.
Ifi: Ax finds Estrid in an area of the ship that was supposedly sealed off. She is busy doing science.


Adam: And by science, you mean experimenting with horrible bioweapons

<I discovered it. By accident, really. When I confided in Arbat, he sealed off my lab to the rest of the faculty and my research was classified as Apex Level Weapons Intelligence.>

<It is a weapon?>

She nodded. <Three benign particles. In combination, they form a quasi-virus. A programmable virus. Deadly to Yeerks.>

I shivered with revulsion. Germ warfare.

Her eye stalks drooped. <There is one problem,> she continued. <One of the components is subject to…to simplify, it has a volatility that could cause it to mutate in a Yeerk with a human host.>

<Meaning?>

<Meaning it could become deadly to humans also.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Jesus Christ, this again?
Adam: How many times have they tried this?
Adam: What is with the Andalite war council, where they skip right to flesh dissolving virus so quickly?
Adam: I am trying to comprehend this sort of thought process

I said, <Arbat, have you told Estrid that her name, her presence here on this ship, her very existence, has already been wiped from the data banks?>

That caught Arbat by surprise. <How—> But he caught himself quickly. <A security precaution.>

<No. Preparation for a suicide mission.> I turned my face to Estrid. <You may imagine that this terrible deed is approved of by the people. But it is not. The Andalite people would arrest you and charge you as a criminal. That is why the people will never be told. It is why only the dregs of the Andalite military—Aloth and Gonrod—could be used.>

<You have said enough, Aristh,> Arbat snarled.

<They needed you, Estrid. They needed a person of your genius to manage the "weapon." But you, like Aloth and Gonrod, will never survive. Arbat cannot allow it. Only he can survive. The Apex Level Intelligence agent who passed himself off as a professor. Why? To find someone like you, Estrid.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Okay on behalf of humanity:
Ifi: Go home
Ifi: Just
Ifi: Just go
Ifi: We'll deal with the Yeerks ourselves.
Ifi: Just fucking GO
Adam: I mean, they Yeerk base on earth is pretty well centralized at this point. Is there really any reason they can't just fire at them from orbit?
Ifi: Well, we crashed an airplane into the pool last book and that doesn't appear to have made a dent in it.
Adam: That have giant laser shooty things though
Adam: And Gonrod supposedly is good at aiming said giant laser shooty things.

Ifi: Anyway, Arbat locks them up, but since when has that ever stopped the Animorphs?

Marco walked calmly into view. "Hey, Ax-man. You're looking slightly trapped."

<Where are the others?>

Marco made a sweeping gesture encompassing the lab. "We're here. The place is crawling with Animorphs. Literally."

In various places human forms were growing up out of tiny points. Flea morph. Fly morph. Roach morph.

Cassie and Rachel and Prince Jake.

One morphing mass emerged as a bird rather than a human.

<The bird with the red tail,> Estrid said.

<Tobias. You met him. They all came aboard with me this afternoon. They have used my quarters to demorph and remorph as necessary.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Arbat has taken the virus whatever down to the Yeerk Pool, so we need to go after him
Adam: So now we finally have confirmation as to who the villain of this book is.
Ifi: Also, apparently all the security measures in the Yeerk Pool have been shut off for reasons of derp
Adam: That is the best reason.
Ifi: They seriously just walk down there. In human form.
Ifi: Oh and I guess Estrid is there too.
Adam: Apparently they could have done this the entire time, but never bothered to try
Ifi: All that stuff with biofilters and robots and scanners must have been costing the Yeerks too much. It was decided that it wasn't worth the investment and the entire security department was let go.
Adam: Well, Visser Three keeps eating all the accountants

Hork-Bajir guards, pounded along the steel pier, trying to locate the source of the trouble. There was chaos but in seconds the Hork-Bajir might restore order. Then Estrid and I would be dead.

"Andalites! Andalites!" I shouted. I yelled and waved my hands, pointing always down the pier. "Andalite bandits in Hork-Bajir morph! The Hork-Bajir are Andalites!"

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: That...
Ifi: was a really good idea
Ifi: I am seriously proud of you, Ax.
Adam: He really has been around humans too long

"We have to stop Arbat and we need firepower," I said.

"Why? To save these filthy Yeerks? Look what they do. Look at what they are! They are going to do that to us, Aximili! They will drag us down that pier, they will force us…NO! Kill them all!"

"Estrid, you said the virus may mutate. You said it might affect humans as well."

"Might. Maybe. But maybe I fixed it. Maybe my last adjustments eliminated the random flux. I do not care! They are not our people. I am not going to let the filthy slugs do that to me!"

I was half demorphed. <Stay here,> I said. <Stay low, do not move.>

"Do not leave me!"

<Estrid, you are beautiful, you are brilliant. But I really do not think I like you very much.>

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Jeez, that took long enough
Adam: I honestly really like that line.
Ifi: I know, right? Ax has some great lines in this book. As always.
Adam: Generally speaking, he's the most quotable animorph
Ifi: Hey, are you ready for epic?
Adam: Let's go

A wave of Hork-Bajir rushed at us. I braced for the attack. Estrid beside me. Arbat chose not to join us.

"Andalites!" he screamed, pointing at us with his remaining hand. "Andalites! Look what they did to me!"

And then the Yeerk pool just to our left began to boil. There was a red circle, fifty feet in diameter, projected on the roiling liquid and everything within that circle was boiling, steaming, hissing.

I stared, transfixed. Estrid, always the physicist, saw what I had missed.

<No, up! Up there!>

I raised my main eyes to the domed roof of the Yeerk pool. There, at the highest point, a hole! Stars! I saw stars!

The red beam stopped suddenly. The wide angle shredder beam on the Ralek River must have taken five minutes to slowly burn its way through the earthen dome.

<It can't be done,> I whispered, not daring to hope.

Through the hole, into the Yeerk pool flew the old ship, the tired, out-of-date relic named the Ralek Riven.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: Gorond, you are a jerk and a loser and a coward, but you are also sort of badass
Adam: Well, he needed to do something useful.
Adam: There had to be a reason they brought him along, I mean.
Ifi: He is a flawed character, but he is good at what he does, and I can respect that
Ifi: Honestly, the majority of his problem is the fact that he is not cut out for war, and he sadly belongs to a culture that does not accommodate that. At all.
Adam: I feel like he would be very happy if he could just go home and become a commercial pilot or something.

The ship flew low and slow, hovered directly above us.

Tseew! Tseeew! Hork-Bajir were firing back with handheld Dracon weapons. Like trying to kill an elephant by throwing rocks.

A ramp lowered. I pushed Estrid toward it and leaped aboard myself.

"Wait!" Arbat yelled.

I hesitated.

"I am an Andalite, too! I am one of your own people!"

He reached up toward me with his one human hand and his one bloody stump.

<Go,> I told Gonrod.

The ship lifted and slid toward the cages. If Arbat had thought to demorph instantly he might have lived a while longer. He stood there, raging, trapped on a segment of pier, alone.

Alone but for the Taxxons whose eternal hunger would not let them ignore the smell of his blood.

----Book Thirty-Eight, The Arrival

Ifi: It's not Animorphs unless someone is eaten alive.

Adam: So Gonrod and Estrid are the only ones who survive.
Ifi: And they are politely but firmly sent home.
Adam: All things considered, their mission went better then expected.
Adam: And we never hear from them again.
Ifi: So yeah
Ifi: That's basically it

Ifi: This book had so much potential. And it wasn't bad, especially compared to the last two. Or the next one.
Adam: All things considered, I honestly felt like this was one of the better filler novels.
Adam: But agreed, there is just so much wasted potential.

Ifi: I am glad Ax did not wind up with Estrid.
Ifi: It would have been so easy to put them together
Ifi: I am glad the author didn't go through with it
Adam: Here we have introduced a great new bunch of characters, only to kill half of them off, and send the other two off into space only to never hear from them again.
Adam: Indeed. Having her around would change the dynamic in a very awkward manner.
Adam: And then poor Marco would be the only one left without a love interest.
Ifi: Anyway, I didn't like her that much.
Ifi: I mean it was cool to see a female Andalite for once
Ifi: But I dunno, I just didn't like her
Ifi: She was a child prodigy, an expert morpher, almost beat Ax in a tail-blade duel...
Adam: Why are all the female Andalites in this series such tremendous jerks?
Ifi: I feel like they can't be blamed for that. Imagine how they've been treated their whole lives by male Andalites.
Ifi: Though Aldrea was a legit sociopath so idk
Adam: Well, it was basically like that on earth 80 or so years ago, and not everyone then was obnoxious.
Ifi: Yeah that's true. Ok I have no idea.

Adam: So, anything else to say?
Ifi: Meh filler book
Ifi: Is next week the Buffahuman thing?
Adam: Indeed.
Adam: I don't really remember that book all that well offhand.
Adam: That's never a good sign.
Ifi: Just you wait
Ifi: Just you fucking wait

---

ALSO! An announcement! What would you guys say towards having another fan-art day? I'll probably make an official post for this in a few days time, but if you are interested, submit any fan art, fan fiction, poetry, etc, to CinnamonBunzuh@gmail.com. Try to keep it PG-13 or so, but otherwise, anything goes! I'm curious to see what you come up with.

64 comments:

  1. Well, after psycho rapist fishmen and Rachel wrecking the city by doing something that is uncomfortable in hindsight, we finally get a respite from crumminess! Of course, the next book is a return to said crumminess, but this book will probably remain one of my favorites.

    One of the things that I really liked about this book was the effect that it had on the future books. Prior to this, most of the introdumps had something along the lines of "we're holding hte line while we wait for the Andalites to show up." After this book, though, when the Andalites -do- show up, that part of the backstory seems to be dropped in importance.

    The Andalite suicide squad was also a really memorable part of the book. Even though they're genocidical and willing to kill people in pursuit of their mission, there's an innate badassery in their dysfunctionality.

    Like an Andalite version of the TF2 characters.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to say im more of a chocolate fan myself. I dont like jelly beans all that much. And Adam. 'gonrodgonrodgonrodgonrod' how old are you, 8?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How old are you really? About 24?

      Delete
    2. Im exactly half your age. 11 1/2.

      Delete
    3. That is an insult to all eight year olds of the world. This why your a controller and not an Andalite Adam.

      Delete
    4. Way to go and make me feel old.

      *sigh* I'll go get my cane and arthritis medication.

      Delete
    5. Dont make adam feel bad! My brother is 5 years older than him!

      Delete
    6. Adam, do you realize how nice it is to know there's someone on here even older than me? (Only by a week, but still.) I may be a sad excuse for an adult, but hey, at least I'm not the only one. ;-p

      Delete
  3. The worst thing about Andalite bio-warfare is that it starts out with them abusing the living daylights out of Alloran for the crime of using a bioweapon* then progresses to the high command clandestinely sending out an expendable team to do it like a shameful dirty secret, and finally, sending out a fleet with explicit orders to commit genocide, and the commanding officer frankly admits the only difference between what he is doing and what Alloran "did" is that he was ordered to do it, which makes everything good. By the end of the series, they are SNEERING at Alloran for what they outright admit is simply being ahead of the curve.

    *"Crime of using a bioweapon" is Andalite legal terminology for the heinous act of not putting enough guards on your storage facility to prevent a fellow Andalite using illegally obtained morphing technology no one knew she had, and allowing two adolescents and a literal idiot to wander off with said bioweapon and later release it by accident.

    This book, BTW, explains why Alloran's bioweapon was targeted at Hork-Bajir & not Yeerks. It is thirty years later and Andalites are only now on the verge of accomplishing a Yeerk-targeted bioweapon. With the help of a child prodigy. The Hork-Bajir, already being bioengineered life-forms, were probably a lot simpler for which to design a targeted virus.

    And BTW, that also suggests Alloran was not going to use any sort of scorched earth tactic to kill Hork-Bajir before the Yeerks could get them, but rather, he was saving it for a weapon of last resort, if the whole world fell, and all the living Hork-Bajir were captives. At which point, killing them is morally acceptable or the Animorphs are no better. Alloran is no more guilty of using a bioweapon on the Hork-Bajir than the USA is guilty of nuking the USSR back to the Stone Age. Possessing, or even actively seeking, a capability is not the same as commiting that action.

    ReplyDelete
  4. And regarding the psychotic decisions of the Andalite military, my explanation is: Herd Animals. Large, grazing, herd grouping herbivores are some of the most vicious and dangerous animals in the world. Three of the legendary Big Five most dangerous big game animals in Africa are herbivores, the Elephant, the Rhino & the Cape Buffalo. They are all known to attack on little provocation, to engage in premeditated stalking and killing of victims, and to act on revenge. And these are animals that kill without the excuse of food.

    Meanwhile, military historians such as John Keegan, have noted the most natural military societies are not hunters or farmers or urban communities, but pastoral nomads, whose lifestyle of herding large groups of animals gives them practice in group tactics and subordination to a common goal, and makes them very casual about killing. Hunters, like Indians and whatnot, have all sorts of rituals about killing a deer, but the Mongols or the Arabs were just like *whack* - dead cow or horse, let's eat. They were very pragmatic & unsentimental about life, and these were the guys who made huge piles of skulls, and tore cities to the ground and killed every last child of their enemies' population.

    Andalites are evolved from big dangerous grazing animals (by Andalite homeworld standards, anyway), and their lifestyle is influenced by herd mentalities like the pastoral nomads to some extent. That's why they can do the group suicide thing we saw back in book 18. Ax's survivor guilt manifests DURING his escape. IIRC, humans don't suffer survivor guilt until they are safe and have the luxury of second-guessing themselves, but Ax was bummed that he was not being allowed to go off the cliff with the lemmings at the time.

    Andalites operate in groupthink. Ax's moral condemnation to Estrid is "the people would not approve." Think about that for a minute: "You cannot carry out this action. It will not be popular." W.T.F.? In the finale we will see another example of this when Ax & Alloran try to stop the Andalites from wasting Earth. This also explains why Ax is so adamant about needing a prince to follow, and why the Andalites are both so hung up on deviations, like the disgrace of breaking Seerow's Kindness (endangering the herd), or vecols(more on that in two weeks), and on lionizing heroes like Elfangor. He's a kind of propaganda alpha male they use to encourage/inspire the rest of the herd.

    I think I may have explained elsewhere why Ax felt he was in disgrace for not killing Visser 3, but V3 was able to "retreat with honor." For a herd animal, falling to predators means giving sustenance to those who threaten the herd. By living to fight another day, V3 helped his group, while Ax was disgraced for failing to eliminate a threat to his own group, despite having advantageous numbers. He had to go after V3 in his first book, because he was basically the calf cut off from the herd and dead meat on his own. They were encouraging him to throw away his life, because by their perspective he was a dead man walking. Ax was able to change up and break out of that mindset by attaching himself to a new "herd," and after that, his actions and honor are measured (in his mind) by his service to this new herd.

    At least that's my guess. IDK, probably overthinking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the main reason for random attacks from big herbivores is that they're really territorial and protective. You're invading their bubble, you must die.
      But that doesn't explain everything.
      Hippos are also bitches.

      Oh, and hey, I love this analysis of Andalite psychological processes. Your overthinking is awesome.

      Delete
    2. This is such a cool explanation for Andalites, and it makes a lot of sense.

      Delete
    3. That is a really interesting, well thought out theory. Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  5. Now I massively want Ifi to write an alternate Book 38 fanfic (Megamorphs 5: The Andalite Rejects) where the Estrid team narrates and all of these characters get their due of screen time.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was surprised there wasn't more talk about Andalite dancers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I loved Jake in this book but I could take or leave the rest of it. (I love Jake in most books.)

    ReplyDelete
  8. You know, our dear reviewers could stop reviewing now because everything that happened in Ifi-verse has been reviewed and/or written. This way, we can skip the Buffa-Human thing and everything else. Or you can proceed as planned. Win-Win situation for us readers. Adam, on the other hand, will be left without a purpose.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You're right to say that cowardice under fire isn't an imprisonable offence: In almost all armies it's a shooting offence, Gonrod probably just got a suicide mission as a form of delayed excecution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seriously? That merits execution? I was thinking that it deserves imprisonment, but certainly not a long enough sentence that the prisoner would consider going on a suicide mission as an alternative.

      Man, armies are weird.

      Delete
    2. If you ask me, "cowardice" on the battle field doesn't really merit any sort of punishment. Fear is natural. It is the instinctual function in your brain that tells you when something is dangerous. Bravery is just the unnatural suppresion of it. The Andalites I suppose NEED to suppress it from what Cannoli said for the good of the herd. But as for humans, thats just us arrogantly stating that humans should be heroes or else their a blemish on our history.

      Stupid humans. This is why owls are better.

      Delete
    3. Fear is natural. Sexual attraction is natural. Hunger is natural. Anger is natural. Cowardice, rape, theft & wrongful violence are not justifiable reactions to these natural urges. And natural impulses or not, the fact is, giving in to them gets other people killed (as well as yourself - fleeing a battlefield is not as good a method of self-preservation as you might think). In real combat, professional militaries rely heavily on teamwork, rather than the individual random brawling style the Animorphs use (Animorph teamwork compares to soldiers' like a kid's fort in the woods compares to a professional carpenter), and desertion or fleeing the field of battle leaves the other guys on the team hanging.

      Furthermore, the acknowledgement of fear as a natural reaction is exactly WHY cowardly actions are punished by death. It can be summed up in the following: "If you stay on the battlefield, the enemy MIGHT kill you. If you flee, we definitely WILL kill you." Gives you something to fear more than combat.

      Armies are not weird. Their customs, methods & traditions are based on long experience in a field where the consequences for failure are extreme and backed up scientific study. What is weird is people with absolutely nil knowledge or understanding of those practices or the reasons behind them presuming to judge them. I mean, I don't get art, but that just means I am not really qualified to second-guess the assessments of the covers in these reviews. But I have more justifiable grounds for doing so than any of us have to question practices & methods of a profession or organization whose personnel die if they screw up. It's like saying construction workers are weird the way they make everyone wear those tacky, ill-fitting helmets on their sites, or lifeguards for making you swim between arbitrarily placed flags.

      Delete
    4. Was gonna explain it but Cannoli just did way better than I could have, thanks dude (or ma'am).
      That said this was pretty much My favorite of the ghost-written books, I was pretty much raised on stories from my Dad's army days so the little detail of Ax figuring out that the girl wasn't an actual soldier based on how she acted was something I just loved.

      Delete
  10. this is by far my favorite Ax book.
    And he is so totally a bad boy! He shamelessly destroys the symmetry of shelves, abusing hours of hard work from underpaid laborers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...that happens in book 49

      Delete
    2. You mean 46.

      Delete
    3. There were shelves & underpaid laborers on an aircraft carrier?

      Despite my inclination toward people with names, Anon is right. 46 is the next Ax book, but Tory & Anon seem to be referring to an incident where Ax, Tobias & Marco are pretending to be juvenile delinquents in a store. In book 49.

      Delete
    4. Yes, I was referring to book 49. It was just the first thing i though of when Ifif started calling Ax a bad boy :)

      Delete
  11. “Ifi: Gonrod's backstory isn't as fun. He was put in jail for cowardice under fire. Which to me doesn't exactly seem like an imprisonable offense, but hey, what do I know about war, I'm just a female. I guess I'll get back in the laboratory.”

    Let's lawyer this, actually.

    Cowardice under fire, to me, reads like he was in the middle of battle (under fire) and turned tail(cowardice). That means it falls under “UCMJ Article 99: Misbehavior Before the Enemy”.

    This is the text of that article:
    “Any member of the armed forces who before or in the presence of the enemy—
    (1) runs away;
    (2) shamefully abandons, surrenders, or delivers up any command, unit, place, or military property which it is his duty to defend;
    (3) through disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct endangers the safety of any such command, unit, place, or military property;
    (4) casts away his arms or ammunition;
    (5) is guilty of cowardly conduct;
    (6) quits his place of duty to plunder or pillage;
    (7) causes false alarms in any command, unit, or place under control of the armed forces;
    (8) willfully fails to do his utmost to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy any enemy troops, combatants, vessels, aircraft, or any other thing, which it is his duty so to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy; or
    (9) does not afford all practicable relief and assistance to any troops, combatants, vessels, or aircraft of the armed forces belonging to the United States or their allies when engaged in battle; shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.”

    Based on what we know, he is likely guilty of 3, 5, 8, and 9. Also, depending on the exact circumstances could be guilty of 1, 2, and 4. (Only 6 and 7 are likely not to apply).

    The penalty for all offenses in violation of Article 99 is maximum punishment, including and up to the death penalty. That means that not only would cowardice be very believable as an imprisonable offense for the military-heavy Andalite culture, but the Andalite military could very well have let Gonrod off easy compared to if he had done it in our own military.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People are always surprised at the degree of strictures and military regulation on such things. Remember how surprised people here were regarding Ax's fleeing the Howler, and how ashamed he was over it? Considering that many readers seem to think the Andalite culture places even more emphasis on honor than ours (only someone with no knowledge of the military would think that), they should not have been surprised. A rather insignificant shortcoming, considering the overall quality of the discussions here, but things like this are really helpful to give us all some perspective.

      Delete
    2. You know, we have no idea what Andalite law is, and from what we've seen of them throughout the book, they're a pretty militaristic culture. In the Leeran book, everyone on the broken assault ship accepts suicide and blows themselves up. EVERYONE. In the first book, everybody except Elfangor die. Nobody surrenders. EVER.
      Throughout the entire Yeerk Andalite war not a single Andalite surrenders. It's not even thought of as an option. I understand fear of being infested by a Yeerk, but I think it goes beyond that. I think the Andalites are about as ruthlessly militaristic as bushido Japan or Soviet Russia. For all we know, Gonrod might have simply refused to mindlessly commit suicide in a losing battle, he might have fled with his ship rather than attack a Yeerk fleet. In many militaries throughout history, it is considered 'cowardice' to retreat, to not commit suicide after being defeated, to not attack a superior enemy with a spear or bayonet.
      Let's stop being so judgmental. Gonrod is a decent character, and honestly, none of us have fought in combat. Would we do any better?

      Delete
  12. Something that just occured to me: How did Estrid manage to acquire what is apparently her only human morph from a mall employee? Did she walk in as an Andalite and acquire her while her back was turned, or what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was wondering the exact same thing. Possibly the author's mistake.

      Delete
    2. My guess: it's break time, she steps outside for a bit of fresh air of a cigarette, and FWAP!---knocked out by the flat side of a tail blade.

      Delete
  13. I'm surprised you guys didn't mention the fact that it was Tobias who convinced gonrod to blow through a McDonald's to get to them.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Organ selling off the battlefield makes no sense for andalites. NO SENSE.

    The majority of andalites can morph. they don't need new organs. And the ones that are allergic can have organs donated by a close relative, who can then heal themselves via morph. Even for organs like hearts, I'm sure andalites can create an appropriate life support system that will work for a few minutes. Hell, organ donation could be a profession, a specialty for expert morphers. Morph close relatives of the morphing-incapable afflicted, donate, morph back, get money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a very, very good point, and I honestly have no idea why it did not occur to me while reading this.

      The only possible thing I can think of is that he sold the organs to a different species, who used them for different reasons entirely. If the Isk-oort want to buy human hair, then surely someone would be happy to have a Tria gland on their mantlepiece.

      Delete
    2. CAN the majority of Andalites morph? So far as I know, that is exclusively a military technology. Also, we see that if there is one area Andalites might have hangups, it would be in the medical uses of morphing. Elfangor, Alloran, Ax's resistance to selling his tail blade and fear of having it removed in punishment, the scars sometimes seen on Andalite warriors... It all smacks of an inability or unwillingness to use morphing for things like that.

      It could also be that the Animorphs are always healed because the Andalite technology sees their bodies are just another foreign morph and reconstitutes them accordingly. Maybe for Andalites, it remembers the exact condition of their bodies before they morphed and when they demorph, brings them right back to their old form. In two books, they are going to meet an Andalite with a disease that morphing cannot cure, and there was also the yamphut. Have we ever seen Ax get seriously injured in his natural form and recover by morphing? Maybe Andalite mutilations or serious damage are not recoverable by morphing.

      Adam's explanation is good too, though.

      Delete
    3. Can the majority of Andalites morph? I got the impression that it was still a small, specialized thing for the military only. I can see civilians needing new organs.

      Delete
    4. I always used to ask myself why elfangor didnt morph to save himself in book 1. He couldve morphed something small enough for one of the animorphs to carry him away. Or morphed one of the animorphs or did the frolis manuever. Maybe KAA just wanted someone to die so ax could almost kill himself 7 books later

      Delete
    5. Well, Elfangor was weak, injured, and probably very disoriented from his crashing his fighter; it's established that morphing takes a fair amount of concentration even for "experienced" morphers like the Animorphs, and it's not likely that Elfangor ever morphed as much as the Animorphs did.

      Elfangor also only had three morphs on hand, none of which would be particularily useful, and he probably figured that imparting the morphing power to the kids and explaining to them about the Yeerks was a better use of his time than trying to save his own hide.

      Delete
    6. It all comes down to (sing it with me, kids) we needed a whole long section where they actually explain in detail how Morphing even works.

      Delete
    7. Plot-wise, obviously, they could not have a grown-up associate. As cool as that would be for the improvement of their capabilities, the adult would take over the show. They have to be otherwise neutralized, like the free Hork-Bajir (simple and can't blend in human society), the Chee (hardwired pacifism & dick behavior) or the Yeerk Peace Movement (useless group given greater praise than they ever earned to make Cassie look good). Saving Alloran & Elfangor would have taken the pressure off the kids and spared them a lot of the trauma of the decisions they had to make, and saved them from some errors and the costs and consequences of those errors.

      At the heart, the series is about the horrors war inflicts on its participants, and with a grown-up, even an alien, taking responsibility, the kids would have been shielded from a lot of that.

      And Trish, as is often the case, I feel you are referring to something with which I am unfamiliar. I'm not sure what your point is about needing the morphing explanation.

      Delete
    8. To Tom's point, Elfangor retained the mental capacity to provide a running commentary to the kids while fighting Visser Three. I rather think telling Jake to go into the ship and fetch the cube and explain about the Yeerks while he morphs should not be beyond his capabilities. Not to mention, he was also dictating his hirac delest while this was going on.

      Speaking of which, the events of the Andalite Chronicles should have taught him the efficacy of morphing, and he should have had his own repertoire of alien critters that he had accumulated in the last decade.

      Delete
    9. I think it can be said with relative certainty that morphing isn't military-only. Estrid's mother uses it in her civilian occupation and Estrid seems to have had experience with it prior to becoming fake military.

      Delete
  15. And now I'm stuck with these disturbing images of Visser Three reacting to morphing and eating people like other Andalites do to cinnamon buns and that explains so much about his weird fetish for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, one of the things about Estrid, now that I think about it, is that she's like a deconstruction of the sort of Mary Sue character I would have made up, if I had made OCs for the series. She's the first girl in the Andalite military and has to show she's as good as the boys! she's a genius scientist! she's the bestest morpher ever! she gets to date Ax, who doesn't have a canonical pairing! Then this story ends up being about how she's not very competent, no one likes her, she nearly screws a lot of things up, and Ax dumps her. I have no memory of what I thought about her as a kid, but I definitely remembered this book only as "the one with the Andalite scientist girl."

      Hmm, I'm sure it says something interesting about Andalites that "science" is linked with "artist" under "girl things." If only the scientists we saw weren't few and mostly male, since I guess military scientists are military first.

      A spin off about the four of them would be amazing. Their dynamic is so dysfunctional in a way that would be fun. And for once Alloran and Esplin could be in total agreement about something: how annoying they find Arbat.

      Delete
  16. I think jelly beans are an acquired taste. I hadn't eaten a single jelly bean until I was 10, and I hated it once I did. Andalites are exceptions to any acquired taste rules.

    While I really like this book, I really hate Estrid. I liked Aloth. Gonrod and Arbat are okay. BTW, Estrid is a totally legitimate human name (variant of Astrid). And Adam, I think what bothered Ax about Aloth was that his occupation was "assassin", and that was it. The Animorphs hold many job titles because of their fighting against the Yeerks, so Ax is going to be more okay with an assassination plot from resistance fighters than an Andalite whose only job is assassin.
    Cassie's argument was stupid though.

    And um, I never saw Rachel's reaction to Marco's light slapping as unnatural. I would have done the same. I really hate being touched (I only allow shoulders, upper back, and arms), and I know that doesn't go for everyone, but Rachel seemed like a pretty hands-off kind of girl. By the way, random question: is it normal for people to rub each other's bellies? Because people keep touching my stomach, and it's freaking me out.
    But yeah, the Animorphs were acting pretty suspicious. Andalites were probably expecting it though, because they don't know shit. Andalites: < humanz r dumb, i knew they were gonna break up lolz >

    And even though I hate Estrid, I was pretty sad at Ax's broken heart(s) at the end of the book :(

    OH, and before I forget:
    Could there be some connection between Andalite princes and Machiavelli's prince? I'll have to re-read 'The Prince', but the two matched up pretty well when I thought about it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wait...if the virus could mutate to infect humans because the Yeerks have human hosts then does that mean it could do the same for all the controller types? Did they just not think about what would happen if it mutates when it's infecting Visser Three? Sure the Yeerks would all be dying but that's one heck of a bio-weapon the Andalites would be giving them. All they need is a way to safely contain it and then the war would pretty much be over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think its like that because the virus has potential to be dangerous to humans through concentrated amounts, and since it's deadly to Yeerks period, no matter what the dosage, it will mutate to affect humans the same as Yeerks.

      Or, it could just be a plot pusher. YOU decide

      Delete
  18. An interesting thing I saw was this fan fic which is like a bunch behind-the-scenes or alt-Point-of-view stories, from the points of view of Jake, his parents, Tom and the Yeerk. The chapter in the link -
    http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6489357/35/Idyllic

    is Jake telling how they planned their argument in the barn. It's kind of cool.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This was the only book from the 30's I actually liked. The 30s just was not a good time for the Animorphs series; other than 38, the rest of them range from meh to ugh to god-freakin-awful. But this one wasn't half bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually really liked books 29-34, mainly because they really progress the characters' personality. 29, we see how Cassie operates under pressure. 30, we see how Marco really feels about his mother. 31, we see who Jake really is underneath that mask of leadership. 32, we see Rachel underneath the same lense as Tobias. 33, we see a better insight of Tobias' character. Oh, and in 38, we see how Ax behaves when he has an ACTUAL chance to return to the Andalites. And in 34, we get a GOOD PLOT. As for 35-37, they were the bottom pit of the ghostwritten era, what with their bad characterization. 39, that was just... You know. THAT.

      Delete
    2. Well, I loved 29, but that's not one of the 30's books ;-)

      And okay, fair point, I remember thinking 30 and 31 were pretty dark and depressing the first time I read them (as a 4th grader), but in hindsight, they did have some decent character development... and I have always loved Marco's speech in 30 where he thinks about how kids in future history classes are going to look back at him. Still don't like 31 that much though.

      32 was an interesting character exploration... but very weird, even for Animorphs. And disturbing. Somehow the idea of having your mind and personality so drastically altered (like Phineas Gage) is way more horrifying to me than almost anything else that happens in the entire series. I would much rather be enslaved to a sadistic Yeerk or die a gruesome death. Hell, I'd probably rather be trapped as a Taxxon. But I guess it is kind of morbidly fascinating, and there are definitely worse books.

      And 34 had a good plot? Um, really? To each his own, I guess. Again, there are worse books.

      35... what was that book even about? I honestly do not remember. *goes and looks it up* Oh. Right. Now I remember why I chose not to remember.

      I have nothing positive to say about 36. And my mother always said, if you can't say anything nice...

      I didn't hate 37 as much as a lot of people seem to. I thought the hubris thing was... sort of... interesting... I guess? And I loved Rachel's little heart to heart with Jake at the very end.

      Oh. God. 39. I hate, hate, HATE that godawful, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, pathetic excuse for a book. It is the absolute worst one in the entire series, bar none. I would rather reread Alternamorphs than that... THING.

      Delete
  20. What I hated most about 39 was I was always rooting for them to use a cape buffalo, which is one of most badass animals out there. Not only does it get wasted on Cassie (let Tobias get a combat morph, already), but on a weird one-shot story like that, which is so freaky that it would be highly unlikely for any of them to want to be reminded by reusing the morph. Cape buffalo, water fowl & turkey vulture were three morphs for which I waited most of the series for them to see the potential, and was largely disappointed (albeit vindicated when they finally do use ducks at the very end).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love how they haven't even reviewed this book yet, and we're already dreading it / hating on it in advance.

      Delete
    2. I honestly am not really getting all the hatred for #39. Sure, it's hardly one of the best in the series, but I thought that the premise behind it was legitimately interesting.

      Delete
    3. How so? Because they say at one point that in order to use the escafil device, you have to activate. So it's impossible use it without the animorphS knowing it. So how did these animals acquire the power at all? They couldn't possibly be the first animals two touch it, and also, how did they concentrate enough to morph at all?

      Delete
    4. That's a good point Adam. I haven't read it for a while, so I'll have to see when its time comes up. It IS one of those books that can sound ridiculous when summarized wrong, so it makes it onto a lot of negative lists about the series. Like the "Crocodile Allergy book" or the "Oatmeal book" or the "Helmacron book" or the "Starfish book" Some of those might have been very interesting character developments or cool plots or even introduced a neat element, but people tend to roll their eyes at one aspect (animal morphs a human) and write it off. Especially more than ten years later.

      My own reply was, you will note, more about the series failing to meet my own expectations on some minor details. I don't specifically hate this book (at least until I have located and re-read it), but I'd bet a lot of people might have been frustrated by the shape of the plot and found it easy to write off by saying things like "buffahuman."

      Delete
    5. Also, it was a Cassie book, and thus, IIRC, contained a lot of whining about BS morality, including some reverse David-logic about an animal that had acquired a human morph being human and thus ineligible for killing.

      IMO, this does not make a book bad (Cassie, yes; the book, no - all it is doing is portraying a long-established trait of hers), but some people might disagree and hate the book because it has that kind of thing in it.

      Delete
  21. Personally I hate #39 because it's a Cassie book, not cause of the plot.

    The buffalo-chapman was creepy as hell.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I had a thing for Estrid when I was a teenager.

    I like to think that when Ax went back home he spent his remaining years going around seducing recently liberated Andalite women while being charmingly sexist.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I actually find it interesting that Andalite society is not traditionally "sexist," despite having fairly rigid gender roles: after all, females become scientists and artists, in a society where those fields are considered important. (And as Gorond shows, males have a hard time if they don't fit into their specified warrior role too.) I have this headcanon that Andalite kids are like horses and start walking around an hour after they're born, so Andalite moms are freed up to just let them run around the front yard while they go and do their thing.

    I think you can actually sort of track the change in Andalite society. In "Andalite Chronicles," they talk about the idea of warriors also being scientists and artists; I imagine this sort of led to the question "Well wait, what about females, then?" So within 10-15 years we see Estrid, an Andalite scientist starting to be a warrior. The Yeerk situation is making the gender roles more fluid, similar to the way that World War II helped start the feminist movement a generation later.

    ReplyDelete