|#44: The Unexpected|
Detailed Plot: Cassie, in seagull morph, is flying overhead with a ton of other seagulls, observing what happens when the Marines have recovered a hunk of Bug fighter wreckage at an airport. But then Controllers who are CIA agents (or at least dressed like it) wander in and try to relieve the Marines. They only take orders from within the military, and though Cassie tries to delay a fight by shooting incendiary comments at them with thought-speak, a shootout breaks out when the Controllers use deadly force. Cassie scrambles for help from the others, and finally they arrive in battle morphs.
Unfortunately, though the Animorphs are able to subdue the Controllers, reinforcements arrive and they're all on the Yeerks' side. Jake orders the group to retreat and demorph, but Cassie is concerned about the non-Controller human Marines getting caught in the crossfire, and she tries to encourage the one holding his ground to run. During her rescue attempt the Yeerks realize she's not just a seagull and try to shoot her. She is injured and has to hide under a baggage cart to demorph. But she only demorphs partially, and while she still looks more like a seagull than a human, she can run and is no longer injured. She escapes to a vehicle and tries to use it by driving away, but she's not a very good driver. Still, she manages to put some distance between herself and her pursuers, and runs onto a plane. She searches frantically for a place to demorph.
Cassie locks herself into the bathroom and demorphs, then morphs a fly just before the Controllers rush up to the bathroom and assume she must be inside. One of them suggests "the Andalite" must've morphed an insect, so they use gas. Cassie searches for a place to hide from the gas, but there seems to be nothing; she ends up escaping through a bullet hole, but the gas catches up to her and paralyzes her wings just as she gets outside. She demorphs a little so the gas won't be affecting her as much, but before she gets bigger than a bowling ball she has to hide. She hides in a golf bag that's someone's luggage, and while she's trying to focus on demorphing, she passes out.
When she comes to she is freaked that she might have ended up stuck halfway through a morph, but she realizes she's her human self. Now she has to figure out WHERE she is--and that's in the luggage hold of a plane, going who knows where. The luggage tags say SYD, and she doesn't know where that is. In any case she's hungry and freezing, so she tries to snuggle into the softer luggage to keep warm, and wonders if anyone will miss an orange if she eats one from a crate she sees. But then something weird happens: the whole plane gets paralyzed by a green zap. Cassie's luggage hold was underneath the engine, and most of her was protected by it; her lower legs are paralyzed, along with everyone on the plane. The Yeerks have found her.
They come into the hold and start looking for her, and Cassie figures out by deduction that there must be only two to fight. They have bug spray, so Cassie can't go small; she decides instead to morph a polar bear. She fights and beats the Hork-Bajir, but the Taxxon pilot flies off in his craft to get reinforcements after unpausing the plane. The door to the hold is still open, and Cassie almost gets sucked out, but she manages to shut the door. But she knows they'll probably come back for her, so she tries to make it look like she did get sucked out by scraping the floor with her polar bear claws to look like she was dragged across and sucked out. Then she shields herself from possible re-emergence of the Yeerks' paralyzing ray with some of the cargo, goes through some luggage to find food and a warm sweater, and goes to sleep in someone's sleeping bag.
She awakes when the paralyzing green light stops the plane again. She climbs up toward the main part of the plane where there's a trapdoor in the floor, but she can't get up because there's a beverage cart parked on it. She manages to get through and moves up into where all the passengers are frozen, but the Yeerks' sensors show movement, so they know where she went. Cassie wasn't counting on that. A human-Controller is with the Hork-Bajir this time and she hears the woman giving orders. Cassie decides to hide as one of the passengers. She sits down in an empty seat, grabs an old man's blanket to put over herself so her morphing outfit and bare feet don't look suspicious, and sits unblinking while the Controllers storm through the plane looking. They get the bright idea to shoot everyone on the lowest Dracon setting to see if they react. Cassie thinks she won't be able to contain a reaction from getting shot, so while the Hork-Bajir is leaning over to shoot the guy next to her, Cassie puts her hand on his back and acquires the Hork-Bajir so it will go into a trance, trying to take his Dracon weapon. But he drops the weapon before she can grab it and her presence is noticed. She tries to run and manages to get the Dracon, but then when she shoots at one of the Hork-Bajir it totally vaporizes him. She'd thought it was on a low level! But she doesn't have time to be horrified; she's still being chased. The human-Controller aims at her with a rifle and they find themselves in a standoff, but Cassie insists the Controller can't shoot her because the Visser won't accept that they couldn't just capture her, and the Controller can't risk accidentally killing Cassie. Cassie can't bring herself to fire on the human-Controller knowing her weapon is on full power, so she dives out the passenger door and into the open air, plummeting without a plan.
In the air, Cassie wants to morph to an osprey to save herself, but a Taxxon pilot is on her, and she can't let it see her morph straight from human to a bird. So she uses her Dracon beam and kills it to save herself. When she finishes her morph, she manages to fly into a cave, morph a flea, and hide from the explosions, figuring she can wait them out. Mulling over her situation, she grieves over the fact that she's made so many stupid decisions and ended up killing four Hork-Bajir and a Taxxon. They're dead because of her being there. She's disappointed in herself and so tired of fighting.
When Cassie decides she might be close to her morphing limit, she demorphs and encourages herself out loud that she can work with the situation, even though night has fallen and she's in a strange land without knowing where. But when she exits the cave, there's a young man with a dog nearby, and he had apparently seen her initial morph and return to human. The boy seems unafraid, though, and introduces himself as Yami, and his dog is Tjala. Yami decides to help Cassie as her clothes are in rags and she's lost, so she follows him through the night, noticing he's barefoot like she is. She wants to know why he isn't surprised by her morphing, and he says he was a little surprised but assumes Cassie has something to do with their sacred springs which are said to have transformative powers. When they get to a pool of water, Cassie can see kangaroos hanging out near the water, and realizes she's in Australia.
They have an incident with Yami's dog in which he chases a kangaroo, and then they find a female kangaroo with a joey in her pouch stuck in a fence. Cassie acquires the kangaroo to calm it down, then helps it out. Yami jokes that since she has a way with kangaroos, maybe she would like to turn into one, but that's not that funny since she actually can. He leads her back to his outstation and she gets some sleep. In the morning she meets Yami's grandfather, who believes her shapeshifting abilities are a sign that he is doing well teaching the old ways to others. Cassie is embarrassed because that's not what she is at all. But the grandfather is not swayed. Cassie finds out she can't make a phone call; they have no phone, and their two-way radio doesn't work now that the Yeerk craft destroyed part of the apparatus, and the postman won't be coming for a week. Then the grandfather gives Cassie a boomerang he carved, as a gift. Yami tries to show her how to throw it and they have some awkward touching to deal with, and Cassie keeps thinking about wanting to get back to Jake.
But then Yami's grandfather turns out to have an injured leg, and it's because he cut himself on a piece of Yeerk metal that fell from their battle. The cut gets infected at an accelerated pace and Cassie realizes soon that he really needs a doctor. She offers to morph a kangaroo and go through the desert to get one, but Yami says a kangaroo wouldn't be able to do that until nightfall, and that she might die if she tries it. She can't exactly help if she's dead. So she agrees to wait, but in the meantime the infection gets disgustingly worse and starts to turn black and rot. Cassie knows he needs an amputation. After the family agrees to let her help, she morphs a Hork-Bajir so she can use the blades to cut through bone. Yami is startled when he sees her, but she uses thought-speak to explain who she is, and though he is confused and surprised by her form and her way of communicating, he accepts what's going on. They sedate Yami's grandfather, elevate his leg, use a tourniquet, and slice his infected calf off. Cassie's got experience doing amputations for animals, and though the human amputation is a little different, she manages to do the stitching while Yami pinches the major artery. The surgery is just complete when Cassie notices a shadow falling over them, and it turns out to be Visser Three's Blade ship, which releases a Taxxon.
Visser Three himself demands in thought-speak that the Andalite should come out or he'll destroy everything within miles, and after so many innocents have been hurt through her dumb decisions in the last day or so, Cassie feels she has no choice but to surrender herself. But she's up against many Taxxons and Hork-Bajir, not to mention Visser Three himself. Cassie apologizes and says these aliens are here because of her, and Yami's grandfather reminds her that they're not here "because of her"--they're here because they're evil and conquering everything, and she's on the good side so this isn't her fault. Cassie is encouraged by his words, and goes out to meet the enemy, morphed as a kangaroo, with the gift boomerang in her pouch.
The bad guys attack and she leaps away, accidentally leading them toward more kangaroos as she struggles to get away from Yami's family. They follow her toward the desert and keep shooting at her, but they can't tell which kangaroo is her. She finds water and hides in it, and manages to wound some Taxxons who come after her, but then she finds that Yami and his uncles have followed and they're attacking with their boomerangs. Cassie doesn't want their help because their deaths will be on her hands if they get caught by the Yeerks. Even Yami's dog tries to help, and goes after a Hork-Bajir. A blade slices Cassie's tail and she's injured, but then some planes arrive and Visser Three doesn't want any evidence of the battle to be seen, so he cleans up in a hurry and leaves. Cassie sneaks into a cave to demorph and runs into a Chee she knows--the one who goes by the name Lourdes. She smuggled herself on Visser Three's ship, and says she'll take Cassie home. Inside the hologram the Chee creates, Cassie can safely demorph. She asks Lourdes to get a doctor out there to the outstation to help Yami's grandfather. The Chee just tells her to demorph and it will all be taken care of.
Soon she's home and shopping with her friends at The Gardens' gift shop, looking for a postcard to send to Yami and another one to remind her of her experience. Her friends fill her in on what happened to the Marines and how Jake acted while she was gone--apparently he was single-minded and frantic about finding her--and she feels guilty but glad to be back. When she gets a moment to herself, she addresses a postcard of an osprey to the outstation with the name Yami had told her when filling her in on where she'd ended up, and she writes a "no worries" message.
New known controllers:
New morphs acquired:
Cassie: Hork-Bajir, kangaroo
This book is ghostwritten by Lisa Harkrader.
Jake calls Ax "Axman" at one point, when previously that's always been hyphenated to "Ax-man."
Cassie's plan to acquire the Hork-Bajir who was shooting people on the plane wouldn't have worked if they hadn't leaned across her to shoot an old man before shooting her. It's sure lucky they didn't decide to shoot people in a different order.
Cassie mentions her leotard being in shreds when she gets back to her human self. It's strange that a morph can reconstitute bodies but not fabric if said fabric can be incorporated into their morphs. Yet another thing about morphing clothes that makes no sense.
This is the third time an Animorphs book has had a morph-capable character meet "exotic natives" who believe the morphing is something spiritual or religious based on their folk beliefs. The Australian stereotypes are pretty boorish throughout the book.
The surgery Cassie performs on Yami's grandfather seems unrealistic--too simplistic for two kids who aren't surgeons, and Cassie only has very basic experience doing animal amputations.
Visser Three voluntarily waits for Cassie to give herself up, then uncharacteristically cleans up the area and aborts his mission when there might be a chance that "evidence of the battle" will be spotted by planes above. Seems more likely that Visser Three would have attacked the planes or not really cared about the evidence, seeing as how killing an Andalite bandit or capturing one seems a bit more important.
Cassie tucks her boomerang in her pouch when she's a kangaroo, but it's never mentioned whether she uses it or whether she gets to take it back home. Seems like an odd detail to include if it has no resolution.
Yami's grandfather: "The spring of our ancestors. You chose it as your safe shelter. It is a sign."
Cassie: "They're here because of me."
Rachel: "Can you imagine my elation, my total euphoria, when Cassie, OUR Cassie, said she wanted to go shopping?"
Cassie: "I was wondering--does anybody know, I mean, did anybody see--"