|#32: The Separation|
Detailed Plot: Rachel is at the beach studying tide pools during a field trip when she loses an earring in the rock crevice she's peering into. She acquires the starfish she sees on the inside of the rock crack and morphs into it so she can maneuver inside and grab her earring. But just as she's coming out, a little boy there with his family cuts her in half for no good reason. When she morphs out, there are two of her, and one has inherited her fighting spirit, recklessness, and horrible temper while the other has ended up with her dumb-blonde shopping-obsessed mall girl persona. Mean Rachel and Nice Rachel, with their mutually exclusive knowledge and attributes.
Since Nice Rachel frets over thoughts of fighting or morphing or flying or anything gross, she breaks a date she has for flying with Tobias. She goes to the mall instead. But Mean Rachel does meet with Tobias and kills a fish while in eagle morph, acting vicious and weird to the point where Tobias notices. While at the mall with Cassie, Nice Rachel runs into an angry mall-going girl who insults her and tells her to get out of her way, and while Cassie is totally prepared for Rachel to go ballistic, instead she bursts into tears and runs away. Cassie realizes something is wrong too.
After Tobias acted weird toward her, Mean Rachel decides to go to the mall to get clothes that are more suited to her personality, because she doesn't like what's in the closet at home. The clothes are too preppy and girly. But at the mall she doesn't have her usual shopping knowledge or abilities. She sees Cassie but doesn't want to meet with her at that point, so she goes in the kitchen store to avoid her and ends up running into the same girl that made Nice Rachel burst into tears. The bully girl tries to engage her "again" but Mean Rachel is the wrong one to cross. She punishes the girl by pinning her, kicking her, and then shackling her to the wood counter by sticking a bunch of knives through her shirt. Obviously this sends a message, and Mean Rachel relishes the sound of her screams. She leaves the store before the security guards catch her.
Nice Rachel goes with Cassie to an Animorphs meeting, where Cassie tells everyone she cried when she was confronted by a bully at the mall. No one knows what to make of it, and they think surely Rachel can't be Rachel, which is even more likely when she claims she thinks Marco is funny and cute. Ax threatens her with his tail blade, and she starts crying. But then Mean Rachel storms in wanting to know where the fight is, and suddenly they all understand what's happened. There are two Rachels.
Soon it's clear that Mean Rachel was with Tobias that afternoon acting aggressive while Nice Rachel was shopping with Cassie when she cried, and they don't know why there are two Rachels but Erek the Chee shows up and reminds them that he has information on the Yeerk-related mission they have going; an Anti-Morphing Ray is being invented. Jake tells the Rachels that neither is going on the mission, even though Mean Rachel thinks this is a great development because it means she could be in battles all the time while Nice Rachel covers her at school. But Jake isn't okay with that and she ends up screaming about wanting to kill him.
The Rachels go home (with Mean Rachel using a cockroach morph to get in), and Mean Rachel bullies Nice Rachel as they discuss not being able to properly focus. Mean Rachel decides to sneak out and do the mission anyway, while Nice Rachel dissolves into tears and decides to call her daddy. She has a hard time even focusing long enough to do that. Meanwhile, Mean Rachel in eagle morph decides to hunt a cat for no real reason, but she misses because the mouse the cat was hunting spotted her and alerted the cat with its motions. She is so angered by her miss that she throws herself on the ground and has a literal screaming temper tantrum, thrashing around and screaming (as well as a bird can). She's a bit frightened by this, but she still has just as much an urge to kill, so she aims again for the site of the Animorphs mission.
Nice Rachel gets a hold of her father, but even in her altered state she knows not to say anything about their secrets over the phone, so she asks him to come see her so she can tell him all about the aliens and her problems because she can't keep it bottled up inside anymore. Her dad thinks she's on drugs and calls back to ask Rachel's mom if that's the case. And as for Mean Rachel, she's heard an alarm in the facility and assumed it means her friends need her, so she storms in in grizzly bear morph, driving a Mercedes through the testing facility looking for trouble. She plows into Hork-Bajir and manages to find her friends, seeing Jake in tiger morph and Tobias using his Hork-Bajir morph. She plows into the battle and gets her grizzly arm chopped off, but then she picks it up and uses it as a bludgeoning weapon in the fight. They win the battle but Jake explains that Rachel screwed up the plan; the alarm had been set off by them as a decoy to draw the Hork-Bajir AWAY so they could look for the Anti-Morphing Ray, but Mean Rachel sees no logic in this and she decides Jake "needs to go." She relays all this to Nice Rachel later, while being abusive for no reason and tearing her teddy bear apart.
When Nice Rachel goes to meet her dad, she almost tells him about the aliens and the invasion and whatnot, but Mean Rachel figured out what she was doing and followed her. She intercepts and talks to her father too, and acts crazy enough that eventually he leaves to get on his connecting flight. Mean Rachel has figured out that she has no ability to plan because Nice Rachel got that, and Nice Rachel has no courage. She does, however, have the sense of duty, and Cassie figures that out enough to get Jake to talk her into going on the Anti-Morphing Ray mission. Mean Rachel, hiding in the barn in morph, overhears that they're planning on including Nice Rachel but not her, and she rages about wanting to go on the mission until Ax knocks her out.
The rest of the group goes on the mission following some trucks, and Jake makes Nice Rachel stay with him. They're in owl morph, and he talks her into catching onto a strap on the truck, but then he wants her to demorph and finally do a cockroach morph. She's so frightened and grossed out that she can hardly handle it, but she manages to become a cockroach, only to find they're being gassed and she loses consciousness. She wakes up in a box, and she tries to demorph but the space isn't large enough to allow for that. She screams.
Mean Rachel wakes up and tears after the Animorphs, determined to destroy them. But when she gets there she follows and sees Jake and Nice Rachel getting captured as flies and put in boxes. She morphs to Hork-Bajir and just starts killing Hork-Bajir-Controllers until Visser Three comes in and starts threatening her. Thinking she's an Andalite, he threatens her with being crushed to death by a moveable ceiling, and he leaves the room so he can begin to actually lower the ceiling. (Closed spaces terrify Andalites more than they do most humans.) Nice Rachel demorphs--they don't know where Jake is--and Mean Rachel can't think of a plan, so Nice Rachel thinks of one and morphs a Hork-Bajir while Mean Rachel becomes a fly. Nice Rachel thought-speaks to the Visser and tells him she's going to cut her own throat with her blades. Because what he really wants are their morph-capable bodies, he bursts in and stops this from happening. Mean Rachel goes into Visser Three's ear and threatens to grow inside his head until he dies, which would kill her too but she's willing to do it. He allows them safe passage out if she agrees that she won't do this, and promises that next time they see each other he'll just kill them. Mean Rachel promises likewise. The Anti-Morphing Ray was not destroyed, but they escaped.
Once they escape, they find Jake was stuck to the bottom of Mean Rachel's foot (and later he transfered to Nice Rachel), and he said he let them figure it out because he wanted them to see that they needed each other. They both hate thinking about it, but by now they know they need each other to be whole, so they agree to try the scheme Ax has come up with to blend them together again. They each acquire each other's DNA, then let Erek electrocute them while they morph into each other. It ends up putting them back together in one person. She recognizes that she's got two halves as much as her partner Tobias does, and knows they're quite well-matched for each other.
New known controllers:
New morphs acquired:
Rachel makes it clear in this excerpt that she can morph while wearing earrings, just like she can with skintight clothes. This suggests that jewelry can be incorporated.
Ax knocks Mean Rachel out temporarily with a blow to the head. Knocking someone out with a blow to the head is not safe and it is not likely to cause loss of consciousness without being followed by deliriousness or possibly lasting harm. In other words, "just knock her out" is a very unsafe thing to do to temporarily disable her.
Cassie: "We have a problem."
Erek: "I can't stay long. I just came to update you guys on the mission."
Nice Rachel: "I remember it was chilly. I had, like, goose bumps?"
Nice Rachel: Jake had touched something still alive and strong inside me: duty. Stupid word! Stupid idea! No, not a stupid idea. But definitely a stupid word. I mean, it sounds like "doody." I mean, puh-leeze. I had to go and get killed because of something that sounds like you're talking about what dogs do on the lawn?