If this is your first time dipping into the Animorphs Re-Read, I strongly suggest you head back to the beginning and start there unless you’re already familiar with the books. Alternatively, check out the Animorphs Re-Read tag page for a list of every post in the series.
Welcome to the second part of the Intergalactic Academy re-read of The Andalite Chronicles! When we last met our heroes, they were getting ready to head down to the Taxxon home world in search of the mysterious Time Matrix. The Taxxon home world is bad news for the following reasons:
- It’s full of Taxxon.
- See point one.
Eflangor isn’t overly enthusiastic about the idea of heading down there, but they don’t really have a choice since the Time Matrix can destroy the galaxy or something. They board a Taxxon-filled Yeerk ship and are immediately thrown into a tactical engagement with a bunch of razor-worms.
They make this noise when they get chopped by Elfangor’s tail:
“SSSRRREEEE-WWWAAARR!” the T axxon screamed.
“SSSRRREEEE-WWWAAARR!” the blogger screamed, after transcribing one bizarre sound effect too many.
The Taxxon are backed up by a pair of Hork-Bajir, both of whom get messily dismembered by Elfangor. He’s predictably a bit freaked out by his own blood lust (the phrase ‘Hork-Bajir blood ran on the decks’ comes up), until Loren decides to comfort him when he goes back to the Andalite ship.
But there’s no time for PTSD, they have a mission to finish! The Andalites explore the rest of the Yeerk ship and discover that it’s full of Yeerks being transported to the Taxxon home world. Alloran, being the disgraced hardass that he is, suggests that they blow all the Yeerks out into space. Elfangor is horrified by the idea.
Keep that in mind when we get to the end of the series. (In like a year, Jesus Christ.)
Arbron comes to the rescue by pointing out that the Yeerks would notice the heat signature of thousands of other Yerks being flushed out into space. Alloran begrudgingly agrees to hold off on the mass murder until they’re done with the mission on Taxxon Nightmare Planet.
They head down to the surface in Taxxon morph, but are almost immediately separated when Elfangor gets overcome by the Taxxon’s hunger. He becomes lost, before being instantly found out by a Hork-Bajir who turns out to be Sub-Visser Seven. (Yes, there are Sub-Vissers as well as Vissers. Who knew?)
The Sub-Visser assumes at first thinks Elfangor is a Controller, but then comes to the conclusion that he’s a ‘rebel Taxxon’, which is apparently a thing that exists. If you recall, the characters in the main Animorphs books were all under the impression that the Taxxon submitted willingly to the Yeerks – apparently that’s not the case.
But wait, Sub-Visser Seven was just toying with Elfangor! He’s apparently a bit of a sadistic dick like that. He really does know that Elfangor is an Andalite, and he gives him a choice: be ‘interrogated’ by some Taxxon (i.e. be eaten alive) or talk and be executed quickly.
BUT WAIT AGAIN. He presents him with a third choice: become a Controller, and stay alive after a fashion.
BUT WAIT TRIPLE COMBO. Sub-Visser Seven…sadistic and dickish…wants an Andalite body…
Could it be??
Answer: probably, given the number of crazy coincidences we’ve seen so far!
Anyway, Visser Thr- I mean Sub-Visser Seven shoves Elfangor out of their mag-lev train, into a huge pit full of non-Controller (and very hungry) Taxxon. He hits the ground before he can demorph and is immediately set upon by the Taxxon while he desperately tries to demorph:
It would all depend on how the morph hap- pened. If my head emerged too soon, the Taxxons would simply rip it off. I didn’t need my head. I didn’t even need my legs.
I needed my tail.
If any Andalite in all of history needed his tail, I needed mine. Right NOW!
It’s a pretty dark scene.
Anyway, Elfangor manages to kill a few Taxxon and then morph into a bird from the Andalite homeworld, which lets him escape….up until his ship flies down and Chapman proceeds to screw everything up because god damit, that’s just what he does.
Chapman kept his hands raised and made a hu- man smile. Then, very slowly, he stepped back into the shadowed interior of the ship. And when he reappeared, he was shoving someone before him.
It was Loren. She was bound with wire. Chap- man pushed her viciously. She fell to the ground be- fore Sub-Visser Seven.
“That’s what I have to trade,” Chapman said. “A whole planet full of … that.”
GOD DAMMIT CHAPMAN, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.
Actually, this doesn’t really make sense with what we know of ‘our’ Chapman in the future, since he apparently became a Controller to save his daughter. I’m sure all will be explained, though. (And in case it wasn’t obvious enough already, I’m only reading a few chapters ahead of where I’m planning on stopping before I write these posts. It’s a long book, guys!)
This is where things move on to the second ‘volume’ The Andalite Chronicles, which is called ‘Alloran’s Choice’. According to Wikipedia’s ridiculously-detailed Animorphs section, these volumes were originally distributed to schools as separate books, which strikes me as a fairly smart marketing technique given that you don’t need to have read the other books in the series to understand this one.
You can tell all of this just by reading because there’s a fairly awkward few ‘summing up’ pages at the beginning of ‘Alloran’s Choice’. It’s a little jarring.
Elfangor promises to save Loren, and flies off to hijack a Skrit Na ship after reuniting with a very erratic Arbron:
He seemed to alternate between being flat and emotionless and sudden bursts of manic energy. Maybe it was the strain. The fear. And the vile creepiness of inhabiting a Taxxon form.
Abron is stuck in Taxxon morph, which would reeeally suck. It’s a shame he didn’t get trapped in a glorious red-tailed hawk morph like Tobias! He manages to keep his angst in check long enough to try escaping with Elfangor, though. The Skrit Na ship accelerates more slowly than a cow with both its legs cut off, though, so Arbron suggests using the Time Matrix to escape…through time. Elfangor nixe the idea, since he’s afraid of what might happen if it draws the attention of an Elimist. Arbron dismissively says that the Elimists are just a myth.
They escape, but Arbron quickly becomes overcome with despair at the thought of being stuck as a ravenous Taxxon for the rest of his life. He begs Elfangor to kill him, then almost tricks him into shooting him with a fully-powered Dracon beam. Instead, Elfangor shoots a hole in the ship.
He wakes up, and we get one of the most ludicrous scenes in the entire series. Elfangor checks the back of the Skrit Na ship (this is the one that was originally carrying Chapman and Loren, remember) and finds a Mustang. As in the car.
And then he drives it away in search of Arbron.
It absolutely blows my mind that I don’t remember this scene. How could I have forgotten something as gloriously insane as an Andalite driving a car.
Elfangor finds Arbron, who is inexplicably still alive. He’s also become overtaken by the Taxxon collective consciousness known as the Living Hive and is planning on staging a Taxxon rebellion.
Yes, this is a real thing that actually happens in this book. It’s like we’ve got five different SF plots running concurrently here.
And it’s going to get a lot more insane before we’re done, but this is as good a place to stop as any. Come back next time for the third and last installment in The Andalite Chronicles, which involves black holes, alternate realities and inter-species romance!