Saturday, September 1, 2012

Book 46: The Deception

The Summary
The Yeerks are trying to start World War 3, so the Animorphs steal a jet and fly out to an aircraft carrier, which is in the process of being taken over by Yeerks. Visser Two is hanging around to make sure the plan works out. The Animorphs sneak in by morphing members of the crew, and arrive in time to see the captain infested.

Some of the crew realizes that the Animorphs are the good guys, which helps when a bunch of bug fighters show up and start killing people. Still, they're getting slaughtered and Ax realizes that to stop this war, he has to find and destroy an American sub full of Taxxons ready to drop nukes on the Chinese. He has no idea which sub it is, though, so he kidnaps Visser Two and steals a jet.

Ax threatens to drop a bomb on the Yeerk pool (and also Jake's hometown) if the Visser does not call off the attack. Visser Two isn't happy, but he agrees and the day is saved.

The Review
Adam: This cover
Adam: Makes no goddamn sense.
Adam: Space magic.
Adam: I mean, I like it from a visual perspective.
Adam: The color scheme is pretty neat, especially with the red and black on the title
Adam: And having the eyestalks meld into the helmet is kind of cool looking.
Adam: And Mattingly has always taken some pretty big liberties with how the morphing process works.
Adam: But still.
Adam: I have to draw the line somewhere.
Ifi: Well obviously he needs to be wearing clothing because of like, laws and stuff
Ifi: But this was a stretch
Ifi: I mean concept-wise it is pretty cool. That dude is a cool dude.
Adam: Ax is growing an oxygen tube out of his chest.
Ifi: I am sort of stuck on the legs in the third stage
Adam: He's a half-centaur.
Adam: A halftaur
Ifi: What does that mean?
Adam: Yes
Ifi: Ok then.

Ifi: So we pick up right where we left last time
Adam: Jake manages to contact the Andalite fleet.
Adam: As was totally expected, they completely blow him off.
Ifi: The Andalite fleet gives exactly zero fucks
Ifi: "The Anati thing is a trap."
Ifi: <Zero. Zero fucks.>
Ifi: "We have Visser One's host..."
Ifi: <Still holding steady at zero.>
Ifi: "We have one of your toilets?"
Ifi: <I am hanging up now.>

Adam: Considering that their entire goalplan until now was to stall the Yeerks until the Andalites to show up to save their butts, this poses a bit of a dilemma for everyone.
Ifi: Eh whatever so far these six have proven to be more competent than the rest of the Andalite Fleet combined.
Adam: This is accurate, and gives me the sadfaces.
Adam: The Animorphs don't really get time to mope though, as a bunch of bug fighters promptly show up and try to blow them up.
Ifi: Run awaaaaay
Adam: They do.

Ifi: Then Marco is bored so he just shows up at Ax's bachelor pad to whine about how he has no homework or responsibilities or need to lie to his father anymore.
Adam: They basically bum around a bit, before Ax discovers that Peter's invention can do a handy thing.

<And,> I continued, <this program attempts to decode locally originated Z-space transmissions. Unfortunately, and through no possible fault of my own,> I admitted, <the success rate of the program is less than thirty percent. Human computer technology is simply too slow to overcome advanced Yeerk encoding in a reliable and consistent way.>


“…again the Council of Thirteen commends Visser Two on his proposed plan, which we have designated Operation 9466: Phase One. Pending final approval from Visser One, the Council orders Visser Two to proceed as…bzzmss…gerubzz…”

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: IF
Adam: Man, if I were Visser Two, I would be so incredibly pissed.
Adam: "I've been wanting that promotion for the past ten years!"
Ifi: Well Visser Two later turns out to be sort of a fuckwit
Adam: Yes, but we will get to that in a bit.
Ifi: But I have noticed that Yeerk promotions
Adam: It is honestly pretty impressive that they have managed to avoid descending into total anarchy and eating each other to death for this long.

Ifi: Then, using only a lime green iMac, Ax hacks into the National Security Agency's system

Ifi: oh god the memories

Ifi: Though Ax really strikes me as a Linux user
Adam: Nah, he creates a new custom OS every time he turns the thing on
Ifi: I believe this.
Adam: Anywho, there is a brief moral debate over whether it is acceptable to hack into the NSA.
Adam: Ultimately, everyone decides that they don't really care.
Ifi: I like that they've stopped pretending.
Adam: Well, Marco's had to fake his death, and the Andalites aren't coming.
Adam: It's a good a time as any to stop fooling around.

“…The newly appointed Visser One, recently Visser Three, current leader of the Yeerk mission on planet Earth…has approved Operation 9466. Visser Two has undertaken a journey to Earth to assist in the execution of this long-anticipated military action….”

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: So the Yeerks are doing a thing
Adam: They named the plan after Esplin.
Adam: This is clearly a good sign.
Ifi: It probably involves eating everyone
Adam: Nukes.
Adam: Close enough.

Ifi: I just want to talk about how "Visser One" will always be Edriss/Eva and Esplin/Alloran will always be "Visser Three" to me no matter how many promotions he gets.
Ifi: He's been Visser Three since I was in first grade, we are not changing that now.
Adam: Even back in the chronicles books, before he had Visser Status, he was Visser Three.
Ifi: Visser Three is Visser Three even when he is not Visser Three
Adam: Yes

Adam: So they have a problem.
Adam: Operation whatever the number it is, it is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Adam: So
Adam: Everyone needs to get to this aircraft carrier in the middle of the sea.
Adam: They don't have any morphs that can take them there fast enough.

A rustling of feathers. <Moving on…how exactly do we travel a thousand miles in a few short hours?>

“Easy, Bird-boy. Military jet. A half hour to the air force base, maybe a bit more to snag a plane. Then, full speed ahead.”

Jake pulled away from Cassie. “Okay,” he said, clearing his throat. “Let’s go.”

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: Again, I like how they're not even pretending anymore.
Ifi: This book, pretty much all the (admittedly stupid) rules they held themselves to go right out the window
Adam: And yep, in our next scene, we get Ax blatantly parading around in front of military officials.
Adam: Incidentally, one turns out to be a Controller

The male opened his mouth wide. A clear indication he was about to scream.


He slumped to the floor, unconscious. No longer a problem.

The woman, however…




----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: More plane theft happens
Ifi: It really was a pre 9/11 world
Ifi: They acquire the DNA of the real pilots, the first in an incredibly long line of humans they steal DNA from in this book

“An F-16D, two-seater fighter-bomber. Computer control, I believe. Are you prepared to commandeer the aircraft?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah.”

We walked swiftly up to the two-person maintenance crew.

Smiled. Saluted.

And then subdued the crew.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Adam: For whatever handwaved reason, Ax knows how to fly this thing.
Ifi: Ax can fly anything
Ifi: Ax can do anything
Ifi: Ax can anything.
Ifi: Ever.

Adam: I really want to know what aristh training is like.
Adam: Day One: Learn to fly any kind of aircraft that has every existed, and will ever exist.
Adam: Ax still dreads his hour in the hot air balloon.
Adam: But there is just something inherently ridiculous about five kids flying around in a state of the art military aircraft.

Suddenly, on the radar screen—two jets pursuing us.

“Guess they found the real pilots,” Rachel said. “And the maintenance team.”

No choice.

The F-16 fighter-bomber can reach a maximum speed of approximately one thousand three hundred and fifty miles per hour.

Achieving that speed was not necessary.


I increased speed to slightly exceed Mach 1.

“Prepare yourself, Rachel.”

And shortly, we lost the pursuit planes.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: I am just imagining all of them giggling like idiots right now

Adam: The glamorous life of an Animorph
Ifi: So they make their way to the USS George Washington, which is actually a real supercarrier

Adam: Shiny~
Adam: For some reason, Jake is suddenly an expert on military vehicles.
Adam: All of these books, and the next one are by the same ghostwriter, and you really get the impression that she is using this as an opportunity to show off her war-related trivia.
Adam: This becomes even more obvious in the next book, but we'll get to that next week.
Ifi: Well I mean they could identify all those random-ass ships in the Atlantis book, so...
Adam: Actually, let me check. It might be the same ghostwriter.
Adam: Ah, no it isn't.

Ifi: Then the Animorphs have to crash this super awesome sweet jet
Ifi: And I am sad

“Ax, why are you slowing down?!”

“If the plane hits the water at top speed, we will be dead within seconds. It it hits
with the engines stalled…”

“We’ll be dead within seconds!”

I braced myself. The impact would be brutal.

I am the servant of the people…

The noise…horrifying…

I am the servant of my prince…

And then…

I am the servant of honor…

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: Ax
Ifi: Ax stop that
Ifi: Now is not the time for ritual suicide
Adam: They manage to not drown, so that's good, I guess.

<I wasn’t expecting to have to recite from memory but…okay, the first Nimitz class carrier was deployed in 1975.>


<Length—about one thousand and ninety-two feet. Overall width, two hundred and
fifty-two feet. Area of flight deck—um, four and a half acres. I think.>

<That’s my boy,> Marco encouraged. <What else?>

<Speed, thirty-plus knots. That’s a little over thirty-four and a half miles per hour.>

<More aircraft below,> Marco prompted. <On the hangar deck.>

<Yeah. Eighty-five or ninety, total. I can’t remember.>


<Just look down there. A variety. Depends on what the GW’s out here for, I guess.
Probably some F/A-18C Hornets. E-2C Hawkeyes, maybe some EA-6B Prowlers. F-
14D Tomcats. Four catapults for launching. Four aircraft elevators.>

<Crew?> Tobias asked.

<Between five and six thousand, total, full complement. Which is rare these days.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: What.
Adam: Jake, you were totally brushing up the night before to impress everyone.
Ifi: I just imagine him spewing this all out Rainman-style
Adam: Just think of how he could have put this skill to use had he not been forced to lead a war.
Adam: …Actually, I got nothing.

<Right. No calling attention to yourself, Ax-man. Stay away from the cafeterias.>

<Not a problem,> I replied stiffly.

<And stick with others who are dressed like you,> Jake went on. <You morph a guy who comes with a cranial helmet, you’d pretty much better stick with the other flight deck personnel.>

<But let’s try not to morph humans,> Cassie said. <If we can help it.>

<If we can help it,> Jake agreed.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: No.
Adam: They've given up entirely on listening to Cassie at this point.
Ifi: Maybe she should have just
Ifi: stayed home
Ifi: They should have put her on radio duty
Ifi: Or something
Adam: Aw
Adam: =<

A few moments later, several naval officers emerged from the aircraft. According to Jake, one of the men was an admiral. According to Marco, the “big cheese.”

And then I saw someone among the admiral’s entourage who, in a perfect world, should not have been there. He was wearing a navy officer’s uniform like his colleagues.

But I recognized him all the same.

<Prince Jake.>

<I seem him, Ax. Chapman.>

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: Chapman don't you have places to be that aren't here?
Adam: Have you ever worked professionally with middle schoolers?
Adam: They're a bunch of complete jerks.
Adam: The guy probably takes every out of town assignment he can get.

Ifi: So the Animorphs go belowdecks as seagulls, which causes everyone to flip out

Down to the third deck, two decks below the main hangar deck.

Sailors! Behind us, coming at us from all directions, smacking at the air, pounding down the ladders! Alarms shrieking!

“Come on! We’ve got to get them before they do something stupid like fly into the
air-conditioning plant!”

“Or poop all over the place!”

This gave Rachel an idea.

“Ew! Ewewew!”

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: Again?
Ifi: Really?
Adam: I really do not like where this is going at all

We demorphed behind the industrial-size washing machines. And then…


The sailor on laundry detail would never know what hit him.

Gently, Marco laid him on the floor under a long table and placed a folded sheet beneath his head.

It was decided I would morph the pilot again. A physically fit adult male was a convenient morph for our purposes. And my own technical knowledge would also be useful.

The others would ride in my pocket as cockroaches. After I borrowed a uniform.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: Get used to this.
Adam: Yay stealing stuff!

“Admiral Carrington…the hangar deck…”

<Prince Jake? I need to find the hangar deck.>

With Jake’s thought-speak directions, I made my way back to the huge hangar deck. There, I silently joined the crowd of officers gathered around a parked fighter jet. Tried not to call attention to myself.

Hoped the carrier’s personnel would assume I was part of Admiral Carrington’s staff.

That the admiral’s staff would assume I answered directly to the captain of the carrier.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Adam: Also, remember that person's name, as he is important.
Adam: Of course, this is a fictional work, so we'll pretty much never hear the names of people who aren't important.

I slipped closer to the admiral. He spoke.

“Captain Plummer, why don’t we go to my quarters. There are a few matters I’d like to discuss with you and your senior personnel.”

He looked at Chapman and smiled. Turned back to the captain.

“My staff and I have brought back something special to share with you. You know how life in the middle of the ocean can get somewhat, uh, dull.”

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Adam: What Chapman has waiting for Plummer is not a nice bottle of wine and some French bread.
Ifi: nom
Adam: indeed.

Silence. Then…

<Weird.> Rachel. <I’m getting confused. Voices raised, kind of fast. Movement…>

<Ax-man! We’ve got guns drawn! Carrington’s a Yeerk!>

<Prince Jake, the gift!>

<Oh, yeah. It’s got to be.>

<A portable Yeerk pool.>

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: Uh
Ifi: What the hell did you guys THINK it was going to be?
Adam: Cake
Adam: It's always food with me, isn't it?

A seven hundred pound Siberian tiger burst into the room!

In the gloom of the closet I could see Rachel rapidly becoming grizzly, able to finish her massive morph now that Jake was gone.

“Andalites!” Chapman cried, turning to the admiral. “Visser Two, get down!”

Admiral Carrington did not get down. Instead, he threw his arms into the air.

“No Andalite will spoil the glorious mission of the great Visser One and his devoted servant!” he cried.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: V2 is a bit derp.
Adam: Up until a few months now, this guy outranked Esplin.
Adam: Explain.
Ifi: I sort of want to know what this dude has been doing this whole time
Ifi: Where has he been stationed?
Ifi: How did he get his rank?
Adam: My pet theory is that he was previously the one in charge of the Anati invasion, and he only got displaced because of this whole nonsense with Marco's mom.
Ifi: "You're taking over my station? Fine. I guess I'll just...go to Earth and eat chips. Maybe get a human host. Start the I <3 Visser Three Society."
Ifi: "For some reason nobody else wants to be a member."
Adam: He made t-shirts and everything.

Adam: So, V2 makes Esplin look patient and rational by comparison, though at least he can't turn into lovecraftian tentacle monsters.

The admiral and captain were standing at a screen, watching a flashing blip.

“Sir, we’ve got what appears to be a Chinese ship-to-ship missile. Fast approaching…wait…” The technician’s voice faded away.

“What else?” the captain barked.

“Sir, another misile, seems to be from the same source. A Chinese sub…I think.”

Why did the technician sound so puzzled? So disbelieving?

What was happening? And what could I do to stop it?

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: Ax you memorized the world almanac, you should understand what this means.
Adam: With all the TV that he watches, I would have figured that he has seen War Games by now.

<Cassie. Who are the Chinese?>

From her hiding place in my shirt pocket, she answered.

<The Chinese? A people. A nation.>

<Are they enemies of the United States?>

<No. Ax, what’s going on? The United States has no serious enemies anymore.>

<Well,> I answered, <it is about to.>


The force of the explosion threw me off my feet.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Adam: Yeah, if they do continue with the rerelease, I honestly have no clue what they are going to do with this book.

<Ax-man, I’m nowhere near the CIC. It’s up to you. Can you acquire either the
admiral or the captain? Reverse the orders to attack. Get the planes and whatever else sent back.>


<I don’t see how. Neither is likely to leave this room, certainly not alone…>

<Do it, Ax. I know you can find a way. I’ll try to establish contact with the others, get us closer to you and Cassie.>

<Prince Jake…> But I knew he was now out of range. <Of course.>

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: <Ax I need you to single-handedly stop the impending world war.>
Ifi: <But that’s not, uh…possible.>
Ifi: <Ax just do it okay?>
Ifi: <...okay...>
Adam: So of course, Ax decides to do so using the most horrifying method possible.

With the force of surprise on my side, I grabbed his arm. Grabbed his gun. Twisted him around…

And shot Admiral Carrington in the leg.

It was only a flesh wound but it served my purpose.

I punched the stunned marine, pretended to wrestle with him for the gun.

“This man shot the admiral!” I cried.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: The Animorphs would not be where they are today if it wasn't for their powers of misdirection
Adam: I am just too busy giggling right now to do anything else.

“Andalite!” he hissed when I released him. “And I thought Visser One was exaggerating his loathing of you bandits!”


Quickly, I acquired his DNA. Morphed. Dressed myself in his clothes, including the bloody pants.

Stashed the unconscious bodies of the two medics in a closet.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: I just want a count of all the people who are scattered around the ship, tied up and in their undergarments
Ifi: I like to think they were finding them for days afterwards
Adam: So now this book has turned into Metal Gear Solid.

“Recall. The. Planes. Or, if you prefer, I will relieve you of your command…” I looked to Chapman. “And then I will deliver you to Visser One as a traitor.”

Chapman’s face went white and he nodded to the captain.

“Yes, Admiral, of course.”

“I will see you in my quarters,” I instructed. “In five minutes.”

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: And then there is this weird break thing

Everything is going as planned.
Soon you will all be ours…


Ifi: I have no idea what this even means
Adam: I still have no clue.
Adam: There is one in the next book.
Adam: Prolly the one after that too.
Ifi: Is it the editor mocking the thousands of fans for their slavish devotion?
Adam: That makes as much sense as any other theory
Ifi: Who is the -speaker- here? I want to know!
Adam: Batman
Ifi: Why is Batman referring to himself in the plural
Adam: Because Batman can do whatever he damn well pleases.
Adam: He's Batman.
Ifi: They're Batman?
Adam: Yes.

To the visser, I said, coldly, <Speak now.>

He sighed dramatically. “I suppose you have waited long and patiently enough for the revelation of my brilliant scheme.”

He stood and stuck out his chest. A strange and somewhat pathetic sight, this thin human male posturing in his underwear.

<We got a whacko here,> Marco commented.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Adam: Thank you Marco, we could not have figured that out otherwise.
Ifi: And then V2 does that thing that all the villains do on all the TV shows where he launches into a prepared speech, outlining his entire plan for them as if he subconsciously wants to lose.

“However, the brilliant plan proceeds unhampered! In slightly less than two hours,” the visser went on, “no matter what actually happens between now and then, our people in government will receive detailed reports of a vicious Chinese attack on the George Washington carrier battle group and order a particular nuclear submarine, manned exclusively by Taxxons, to launch what is by Yeerk standards a quite primitive—however effective—nuclear fusion device against certain Chinese cities.

“The Chinese will respond in kind. War will escalate and spread and, before long, the human population will be severely reduced in number and depleted of weapons. A perfect time for the glorious Visser One to conquer planet Earth!”

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Adam: "And then the planet will become totally irradiated, preventing us from using any of your natural resources!"
Ifi: Dude you don't want to nuke China that's a significant percentage of all your new hosts.
Adam: And then there's the fact that they don't have a pool set up there already.
Adam: Which probably deserves its own separate rant.

Ifi: The Visser gets away, and the Animorphs run upstairs to see Bug fighters shooting at the carrier for absolutely no reason.
Adam: Well, I guess the whole "secret war" aspect is over and done with.

Suddenly, in Marco’s path, a sailor! Armed.

Marco stopped. Stared at the young man.

And then the sailor saluted and ran off toward the bow.

<Whoa…> Marco, dark gorlla hair bloodied and burnt, joined me close to the place we’d come up on deck. <Did I just imagine that or are some of the good guys on our side now?>

Yes…as incredible as it seemed….

<Look. Ahead, by the Yeerk transport craft.>

Members of the U.S. Navy fighting alongside Rachel. Against seven-foot-tall Hork-Bajir, the Yeerks’ shock troops.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: Finally.
Adam: And then we get Keith David narrating in the background or something.

I took my chances. Approached a rather tall young man in a purple float coat. Asked him politely for the temporary use of his genetic material. And his outer layers of clothing.

Fortunately, this young man was one of those who had realized we meant them no harm. Therefore, I was not forced to subdue him.

The young man grinned.

“Dude. I’m honored. Borrow away. And go get that alien scum.”

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: He took that well.
Adam: This book has taken a turn for the gratuitously patriotic.

Adam: So yeah, this whole next bit plays out like an army advertisement.

“Tell me where to find the visser.”

Sweat broke out on his brow. Nervously, he took a step backward.



Chapman screamed.


And I was thrown forward onto my hands and knees! The gun skittered wildly across the floor.

Someone had opened the door. Someone had hit me in the back with the door!

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: Andalites are dignified, noble, and majestic—*door'd*
Adam: Don't worry, slapstick is highly valued on the Andalite homeworld.

Ifi: Ax hallucinates that he's at home for no reason.
Adam: He wakes up pretty much immediately to discover that Chapman has absolutely no idea how to keep someone hostage.
Ifi: Chapman put all his skill points in hitting people with vans
Adam: Which is of course why he took an assignment out in the middle of the ocean.

Ifi: Also Captain P has a gigantic hole in his stomach and the other Yeerks are like "Zero. Zero fucks to give."

His eyes were beginning to glass over. Still, they showed fear.

<I am not going to hurt you,> I said.

Then I saw the Yeerk struggling out of the man’s ear. I let it happen. It would not get far.

Awkwardly, I knelt by Captain Plummer’s side.

“What have I done,” he gasped. “I tried to fight it…I tried!”

<No one will blame you,> I assured him.

He looked down in fascination at what had been his stomach.

“I’m dying.”


He reached for one of my hands.

I stayed with him until he was gone.

Ifi: Hey Ax maybe you should have asked him which submarine the Taxxons are on. Maybe?
Adam: Shhh
Adam: Enough of you and your logic

“Hey, easy, Ax, it’s me. Tobias.”

Indeed, it was my friend. In the body of a navy sailor. Wearing a yellow float coat and jersey.

“The guy’s a catapult-and-arresting-gear-officer,” Tobias explained. “Didn’t want to have to do it without his permission. But he passed out when a bird started talking to him so…I stashed him out of harm’s way. I hope.”

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Adam: Everyone is Solid Snake today.

Ifi: Ax is starting to get really angsty
Adam: Though I think it is fairly reasonable to do so in this case.
Adam: Basically, his plan is to threaten to nuke the Yeerk pool.
Adam: Which incidentally has a city around it.

<No, Ax, I can’t. You can’t. What are you saying? Do you know what it will do to us?>

And at that moment, hearing the shock and horror in my prince’s voice, I knew I had made a dreadful mistake.

I never, ever should have laid such a burden on my friend. My ally.

Never, ever should have asked a human of such superior quality to make a decision that would undoubtedly risk the lives of everyone he had ever known.


<I am sorry, Prince Jake,> I murmured. And then I hit him alongside his head with the flat of my tail blade. <So very sorry.>

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Adam: =<
Ifi: Ax sort of uh
Ifi: loses it
Ifi: right here
Adam: Just a tad, yeah

Marco turned and stared hard at me.

<You Andalites. You people have a tendency to destroy what you want to preserve.
And that plane is carrying a nuke. I saw it being fitted up by some of the visser’s men.>

<Oh, my God, Ax…>

That was perhaps the one and only time I had ever seen Rachel stunned, shocked.

<You’re not acting under Jake’s command,> Tobias said neutrally. As if reinforcing the fact for himself.

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: Busted
Adam: Annnd then nobody cares
Ifi: Yeah they do it anyway.
Adam: They strap Visser Two in with him, just for the fun of it.

“This plane carries a nuclear device, Yeerk,” I said. “As you well know. Primitive by Andalite standards, perhaps even by Yeerk. But effective nonetheless. The bomb is set to explode on impact.”

I paused. Relished the tension my hesitation was creating in the visser. Loathed myself for playing this sort of shameful game. For inflicting a kind of torture.

“That impact,” I continued, slowly, calmly, “will occur directly over the Yeerk pool.
You may launch World War Three on planet Earth, Visser, but how many Yeerks will be alive to benefit?”

“Never!” The man’s voice was like the panicked screech of a wounded animal. “Never! You’ll never do it!”

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Adam: And here is Ax

“Yes,” I said. “I will.”

And then…a miracle.

“All right! You win, Andalite.” The visser spat again before going on. “I will order the submarine to self-destruct. But on your honor, Andalite,” he cried, “on your so-called honor, you will release me!”

I do not know if I have ever felt more exhausted, more drained than I did at that moment.

I reduced speed. Noted the aircraft’s wings sweep forward. Turned on radio communications.

“You may use the radio now, Visser Two.”

----Book Forty-Six, The Deception

Ifi: Damn Ax you are lucky that worked
Adam: What would they have done if it didn't?
Ifi: Ax would have said "fuck it" and bombed the Pool due to incredibly strange Andalite standards of masculinity
Adam: And then Jake would have glared at him.
Ifi: And then World War 3
Adam: Which we do get to an extent, anyway.
Ifi: Yeah but at least the humans are all on the same side.
Adam: I suppose.

Adam: So, Ax flies back, Jake's mad at him, but generally things worked out okay.
Adam: Except for the whole, you know, US government is now aware of the Yeerks thing.
Ifi: Whatever we were overdue for that.
Adam: Fair enough.

Adam: Anyway, they do…something with Visser Two.
Adam: What that something is, we don't know.
Adam: Because the book just ends right there.
Ifi: The book ends with Ax and V2 sitting in the jet and staring at each other.
Adam: And he is never mentioned again.
Adam: So, I guess Ax killed him or something.
Ifi: I like to think Ax landed the jet in Chapman's front yard and just dumped v2 off there.
Ifi: And then flew away.
Adam: So Visser Two ends up living with the Chapmans for the rest of the series.

Ifi: Hey last book they had a bug fighter and now they have a jet where are they parking all these things.
Adam: Toby has a garage.

Adam: So
Adam: That is book.
Ifi: Yup.
Adam: Pretty decent, all things considered.
Ifi: Could be worse
Adam: Yep.
Adam: Any other thoughts?
Ifi: What happened to the jet?
Adam: They ate it.
Ifi: Ohhhh
Adam: It was delicious.


  1. Well, I liked this book, if only because it highlights Ax's general badassness when having to act alone.

    Also, if I were in charge of the Yeerk invasion I'd definitely start by infiltrating either China or India. From a population standpoint, why bother with the West until the final push, where your human Controllers would vastly outnumber the US?

    Come to think of it, a what-if fanfiction about Elfangor landing in Beijing to warn the humans about a Yeerk invasion, and eventually creating a new team of Animorphs, would be cool.

    1. Edriss' rationale was that the US was the most powerful group of Earthlings. Elfangor would not have gone to Beijing. He went to were Loren was from, because that was his reason for his first trip to Earth (bring her home), and that was where he buried the Time Matrix.

      Edriss may not have grasped the technological superiority that gives the US predominance over more numerous groups (and China didn't quite have us in the same economic headlock in 1991 that they do now), since it's like the difference between medieval knights and aboriginal tribesmen to a post-industrial person. But given her approach was predicated on cultural factors, her choice of California makes the most sense, because she was trying to influence people to join voluntarily. Maybe taking over a totalitarian government and making all citizens report to a Yeerk pool is a smarter move, but how would she get that from an Iraqi conscript? She based her assumptions about the cultural primacy of Hollywood from analysis of entertainment. She probably was also under the impression that every small group of friends has one black member.

      Her subsequent influences were Hollywood people, who, of course, thought their business was the center of the world.

      Not saying your way wasn't smarter, but the plot gives good and reasonable cause for Edriss' choice.

    2. I understand why the Yeerks started the invasion in southern California, sure. But there honestly seems to be no reason why they couldn't have set up a secondary base on the other side of the planet once they had gained a greater understanding of Earth and human population density and such.

    3. Ultimately, I think it comes down to the difficulties of supplying and commanding two different locations, and with the cultural approach they've selected as the path to conquest, it's twice as hard, because the two different ops would have to run according to two different schedules based on the cultural and social necessities. There are undoubtedly aspects of Chinese society that would make infestation easier, and others that would complicate the plan.

      It's too difficult for one guy to run all of that; and since neither can really support the other (i.e. American hosts and Chinese hosts can't exactly travel back and forth as needed for each base), you are basically running two completely separate operations on the same planet, under very different conditions. Either you run both crappy, or you run one independent of the other, which V3 (or V1, for that matter) would never allow. From the PoV of the Council, that's having two Vissers (none of whom seem to play well together) in close enough proximity to spend so much time engaging in internecine shenanigans that they jeopardize the cause. Look at all the problems V3 & V1 cause each other in the maybe four books in which they both appear. Now imagine that going on in EVERY book, and you can see why the high command might prefer a "one planet, one boss" approach.

      Then there are the logistical headaches. Bearing in mind that Yeerk personnel and resources are nothing like those available on Earth (or the sheer numbers of squishy, no-fangs-or-claws humans would not be such an attraction to them; V3 seems to think the survivors of an all-out war would still be a worthwhile haul), they'd have to deploy twice the ground resources to Earth to run two separate ops. Twice the Hork-Bajir, twice the Taxxons, twice the Bug fighters (and twice the personnel not available to subdue Leera, Anati or wherever), twice the Kandronas, twice the Dracon beams, Gleet bio-filters, and security drones.

      And if they scale back elsewhere to concentrate on Earth, well, it turns out in the end that that is exactly what the Andalites WANT them to do. Concentrating on Earth makes it more easy for the technologically superior archenemy to figure out a way to take them all down in one fell swoop. They have to keep other fronts going to keep the Andalites off their prize, and if they try too hard to take their prize in one gulp, they might lose everything.

    4. Well, they didn't actually stay in Los Angelos. They said at several points in the series, which I am not going through and locating, that while they started in California, they spread across the state. It was most concentrated in the Animorphs' hometown, but spread, with varying thickness, across California and other states that are close to it. The way American government works, if there is a lot of enemies concentrated on an area hat is occupied by civilians, they will judge whether or not the civilians are suitable sacrifice, not unlike the Andalites. So the Yeerks would be aware of that's how Andalites operate, which is why they spread out over the galaxy. So it makes sense to do the same at a smaller scale on each planet, to protect themselves from humans if they find out, and from the Andalites.

    5. I thought that the Yeerks had set up their actual base in Northern California, but whatever. Still California, by the beach. And forest. And mountains.

      Owl Nutter: The Yeerks have one pool on Earth. They can't spread very far from it. Certain important people (like in Sacramento) are going to get a portable pool, or a magic spaceship ride to the Yeerk pool (or Pool Ship), but you really can't do that to everyone who lives too far away to commute every three days. I'd really like to see proof of invasion of the far-away parts of California and other states. I just don't remember the Yeerks going that far.

    6. @Cannoli: Assume that the Skrit Na abducted a Chinese woman, then.

    7. Oh yeah. It would totally work out better for the Yeerks. My point is simply that as things happened there are very good reasons why the setting is where it is, and plausible reasons for it's being limited (which conveniently make it a menace children could reasonably fight).

  2. I'd like to think Jake knows all about battleships from watching the latest summer blockbuster. Maybe he saw Under Siege with Steven Seagal. Though it's not totally out of character for Jake to be into military stuff, given that stuff with his grandfather from Book 31. They don't really teach that kind of stuff in school, but there was a poster in one of my social studies classrooms with a bunch of Canadian navy ships on it and technical info on them all, so it's not totally obscure info.

    Cassie totally lives in her own little world, doesn't she? "Let's not morph any humans on this aircraft carrier. Granted, we can't walk around as humans because we're teenagers wearing spandex, and all of our animal morphs would seem completely out of place, but we can't morph humans because of REASONS." I really wish she'd gotten more reality checks throughout the series, since Applegate seems to love inflicting PTSD on these kids but seems content to let Cassie keep her naivete.

    Gotta say, if Elfangor had crashed his ship in Beijing instead of Los Angeles, this series would be very different...

    1. "'Let's not morph any humans on this aircraft carrier. Granted, we can't walk around as humans because we're teenagers wearing spandex, and all of our animal morphs would seem completely out of place, but we can't morph humans because of REASONS.'"
      It didn't strike me like that. She said something closer to:
      "Let's not morph humans on this aircraft carrier. This place is full of people, and all of them are registered in a log on the ship, there isn't that many places to stow people that isn't manned or checked regularly for stowaways, everyone we could morph has duties that if we aren't doing we'll be caught and questioned, and if we morph people not on this carrier we'll have to be really careful to look busy or risk being caught." Seriously, that's what she really said, not the bad-ghost-writer-not-getting-her-character-and-ruining-it-with-stuff-she-already-is-over-with crap ghostwriters make her spew.

  3. I thought the weird transmission thing was a Yeerk transmission from the end of the war? Like the first one was "We know who you are," and was foreshadowing that the Yeerks find out who they are. The one in this book, "Everything is going as planned. Soon you will all be ours…" was saying they had a plan, and was going to execute it and take over. There is one in each book up til the Yeerks start to Know, and each one foreshadows an aspect of the we-have-been-discovered books.

  4. Hilarious review. The more WTF the books get, the better these reviews get.

    Just a few things.
    I just want to talk about how "Visser One" will always be Edriss/Eva and Esplin/Alloran will always be "Visser Three" to me no matter how many promotions he gets.

    All of these books, and the next one are by the same ghostwriter, and you really get the impression that she is using this as an opportunity to show off her war-related trivia.
    What struck me even more about this book was that this was written by a female ghostwriter, with the approval of a female author, and the dialogue implies that all the rattling off of precise terminology and nomenclature is a boy thing, with Rachel (RACHEL!!!) and Cassie smirking about male preoccupations with military hardware.

    They've given up entirely on listening to Cassie at this point…Maybe she should have just...stayed home…They should have put her on radio duty…Or something
    The ghostwriter is the one responsible for the cheetah book and the one where Visser Mom comes back and they run the long con on her. So I think it's fairly safe to say Elise Smith has as little use for the Cassie Code as most readers seem to. And off-the-hook, give-zero-fucks plots seem to be a specialty of hers. On the other hand, I find it hard to reconcile her characterization of Marco & Ax in her first and third books with her complete mishandling of Rachel in the second.

    On Chapman, is he still even their principal? When was the last time they dealt with him in his professional capacity? Because I think that since the last book, we have to assume that these all take place within weeks or months at the most, of the end of the series. This makes the Animorphs around 16, which is definitely out of middle school. No matter what system of school division you use, the same assistant principal would not be overseeing the same students at 13 and at 16. Either they were in middle school or elementary school when it started, and have to be in high school now. Unless of course, he got a new job (maybe to stick with his kid? which makes no sense from a Yeerk-cover perspective).

    "And then the planet will become totally irradiated, preventing us from using any of your natural resources!" The China & North America parts would get irradiated. In a nuclear war, there would be no reason to nuke Africa or the hinterlands of Russia or even the Middle East (if for no other reason than both warring powers would want to keep the oil intact to seize themselves). If anyone can cure radiation poisoning, the Yeerks could probably manage that (see: Taylor). Anyway the resource the Yeerks want most is human beings. There's an awful lot of Indians, Arabs, Latinos and Africans left standing (also great apes should make acceptable Controllers - if horses and brain-boosted sharks can do it, why not the closest relatives to a class five host? ), even if Europe goes down with China & America. From the FTL-space travel culture's perspective, there's not a lot of difference in the technical expertise between Americans and jungle tribesmen.

    The book ends with Ax and V2 sitting in the jet and staring at each other…And he is never mentioned again…So, I guess Ax killed him or something.Even if he didn't, Visser Three is going to totally eat him.

    1. Still, I'm just picturing the post-apocalypse Yeerk/Host version of V.

      Also, that Ax GIF is totally awesome. Adam gets a whole jar of cookies.

  5. My brother hates being by himself, so I just sat on the couch with him reading this book while he watched something. And then the TV starts screaming: "LOTS AND LOTS OF JETS AN PLANES. THE GREATEST COLLECTION OF AVIATION DVDS WE'VE EVER OFFERED!" And I immediately thought of Jake going nuts over this stuff.

    Anyway. Ax was totally awesome in this book. I am too thirsty/hyperactive to comment on every little thing, but man, I just loved that scene where Ax shot the admiral and punched the other dude. How often do we see him PUNCHING?! Never. We need more Ax-punches in this series.
    But, I am really glad that the Animorphs dropped their 'morals' and just went ahead and did their thing. It's a lot more effective, and is a nice way to transition into the full-scale war that's coming up ahead.

    Also, Adam. I want that picture of Ax on my wall. Like, huge, framed, and on my wall. ...Actually, can I print it out and put it on my wall? I need more awesome in my room.

    There was a guy who could eat anything. Like, serious, anything.
    So, over the course of two years, he ate a plane.
    Michel Lotito, everyone!

    Also, IDK how Alloran handles eating all those people. I can't even eat clams. (They were served alive. I can eat them fine if they're dead and thoroughly cooked. I felt like Visser Three, looking down at a plate of LIVING, RAW clams burning in vinegar and lemon juice. I feel like V3 would enjoy that. Very much.)

    Oh, and Visser Three will remain Visser Three forever and ever in my mind as well. Will you keep calling him V3, or switch to Visser One?

    1. I had no idea raw living clams were even a thing D: Poor babies. I am sad. I think my grandparents have been known to eat raw mussels off the beach, though...but they lived through the American occupation of Sicily, so they do lots of random things.

      I can't ever imagine calling him Visser One. We'll probably just call him Esplin most of the time, except when we slip up and call him V3. And no one will even care.

    2. My sister calls him esplin half the time and when he goes to V1 we sometimes call him that and most of the time not.

    3. To me, he will always Visser Throne. I nicknamed him that when I first read the series, and he will always be that in my heart, despite how stupid it is.

    4. I've had live octopus before. It's very chewy.

    5. I have eaten pizza with everything on it soaked in chocolate milk.
      It's delicious.

    6. I think eating live sea animals is a common beach thing. Even though you can totally get parasites from that.

      Adam, how do you eat live octopus?
      They are chewy when cooked, too.

    7. Korean restaurant in Queens. They chop off the tentacles and serve the whole thing with lemon and kimchi.

      And there is a trick to cooking octopus. You either cook it on a really high heat for a very short period of time, or the opposite, on a low heat for a long period of time. Get's nice and soft that way. Tenderizing and a good marinade help also.

    8. I like kimchi. What do they do with the rest of the octopus? Do they cut it in front of you?

      Since I've only eaten octopus once, as a dare, I didn't know that. (It was delicious.) You know a lot about cooking them, have you ever cooked one? (I'm tempted to buy and cook one now. Then feed it to my roommates. Yum.)

    9. Poor octopus! D:

      I mean, I don't think clams have a very advanced nervous system so I might be willing to give that a pass, but octopus are smart :(

    10. My brother is a chef.

      As for the rest of the octopus, it's put with the tentacles and you can eat it as well.

      And yes, I'm an inhuman monster. This is long established.

    11. But Adam, I thought you liked cute tentacly things... I guess it's "like" as in "like to devour their still-living bodies."

    12. Also, I love how a blog post about Animorphs has somehow diverged into a discussion about eating octopus. But I guess I should be used to that kind of thing by now.

    13. There are many ways to like things.

    14. True. But usually "like" in the affectionate sense and "like" in the want-to-devour sense do not go together. ;-)

    15. Adam is getting in touch with his inner Esplin.

  7. Also known as the book where "Shit gets dark and real FAST"

    I was honestly very surprised in these 2 books, where the plot kinda sped up a lot, especially after all those filler books. Also I thought Visser Two had a lot of the attitude of the Helmacrons, in that he used the word "glorius" a lot. I was wondering what the relationship between Visser Two and Esplin would be like...Esplin would probably be flattered and keep Visser Two around as his personal cheerleader.

    1. I'm kind of thinking that Esplin would just find him to be a sort of thunder-stealing brown-noser. It would probably be like, "Yes, I KNOW that I am undeniably glorious. What of it? And I AM THE INCOMING HAM AROUND HERE, UNDERSTAND??? Now get out of my sight before I eat you." "To have one's remains flow though the glorious Visser One's digestive tract would be the greatest honour indeed!" "WHY WON'T YOU LEAVE?!"

  8. WHOA YOU CHANGED YOUR BACKGROUND! At first I missed the old one but this one's kind of growing on me now.

    Also, the gif of Ax with the sunglasses made me smile. Most awesome gif ever. Second only to the facebook statuses in terms of awesomeness.

    Also, loved the review. Thanks guys!

  9. Lucky that unlike real life, knocking humans out doesn't seem to be dangerous and potentially fatal in the Animorphs universe, given how much Ax uses that tail in this book...

  10. Is nobody going to mention the fact that, for the first time in the numbered series, they mess up the order of narrators?
    Every 5 books go through a cycle:

    Jake -> Rachel -> Tobias/Ax -> Cassie -> Marco

    Last book (45 = 5 x n), we had Marco. This book was supposed to be a Jake book.

    Seriously nobody mentioned that at all?