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.
Holy Deonyschus, it’s another Lateimorphs post! Blame college. Always blame college. For everything.
So, today I’ll be covering the second half of In The Time of Dinosaurs. Well, I say ‘second half’, but I’m going to skip over a bit in the middle with some quick summary because it’s kind of boring and not a whole lot happens. But the rest? Man, the rest is pure Animorphs gold.
Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Okay,I’m going to skip through some stuff in my patented ‘Fast-O-Vision’ (cue Yakety Sax): Jake and the others accquire a T. rex and then theorise that there might be Yeerks and/or some other advanced alien species sharing the Cretaceous Period with them, Tobias and Rachel acquire a deinonychus and then get attack by some sort of weird ant-like things only they’re not ants and then a spaceship comes along and almost kills them but they escape now back to Jake and there are some bat-alien things trying to kill them but wait, is that a forcefield? It is a forcefield! Forcefields not being naturally occurring phenomenon, they figure there really are advanced aliens in the past with them and in this they are 100% correct.
So now you’re all caught up! The most salient point in all of that, however, is that all of the Animorphs now have dinosaur morphs. Hell yes. You think Visser Three could survive a run-in with a T. rex? It would be like that scene in Jurassic Park 2 with the guy getting ripped in half, only there’d be 3 dinosaurs involved. Which is clearly better.
Seriously, morphing into a dinosaur has got to be the best course of action when fighting an alien invasion.
Right, back to those aliens.
It turns out there are two species involved, because K.A. Applegate apparently wanted to outdo Star Trek in the race to stuff as many fictional alien species into a series as possible. (Whatever about volume, Applegate is clearly the winner when it comes to quality. That’s right I said it.) The Nesk are those ant-like things that accosted Rachel and Tobias, while the Mercora are…well, I’ll let Ax describe them:
They stood about half the height of a tall human, and seven or eight feet wide.On the side with the four big legs, there was a sort of three-way pincer claw. It looked very powerful. It looked like the sort of thing I would not want to have to fight against.
On the other side, the weak side, there were two arms similar to my own, but even stronger than human arms. The arms ended in long, tapered, delicate fingers. There were a lot of eyes. They kept opening and shutting, one or two or three at a time. They were each hidden beneath tiny trap doors in the Mercora’s exoskeleton or shell. Eyes were forever appearing and disappearing. It was very, very distracting.
I see your rubber forehead aliens and I rase you these Mercora things.
Seriously, how awesome are these guys? Symmetrical aliens are so yesterday. Actually, their description makes me wonder if K.A. Applegate ever read this. (And man, check out those prices. If someone could hook me up with a copy of that for not-ridiculous money, I’d be eternally grateful.)
The Nesk are trying to wipe ou the Mercora. The Mercora stay in their force-field bubble, which they plan on turning into a permanent settlement. They ask where the Animorphs are from, and Cassie is about to tell them that they’re from a future version of Earth. Until…
Suddenly she fell silent and looked shocked. Tobias was staring intensely at her. And then he spoke to me in the personal, private thoughtspeak whisper he’d used to silence Cassie. A whisper the Mercora could not hear.
<No one tell them we’re from this planet,> Tobias said. <Hear me? No one tells them this is our planet.>
For a moment I was surprised. Slowly, understanding dawned on me. The Mercora were wrong: They were not going to be a part of Earth’s future. They were destined either to leave … or to be destroyed.
I seem to remember something about a comet in the last post.
The Mercora set the Animorphs up in their forcefield base. It turns out that they brought broccoli to Earth and that it’s therefore an alien plant, which makes no sense but whatever, broccoli jokes are funny. (Although not ones about how gross it is, because all right-thinking people know that broccoli is delicious.)
The Nesk, they discover, have nuclear weapons (or weapons with the same explosive potential as nuclear weapons), which means they should totally morph into dinosaurs and do some bomb-stealing. Cassie objects, pointing out that they could be completely screwing up the timeline, although Tobias rightly points out that they’ve already had enough Cretaceous shenanigans to potentially screw things up.
Ax comes up with the obvious counter-argument:
<There is one other consideration,> Ax said. <We are here. Which means we were here, sixty-five million years in Earth’s past. In other words, maybe our presence here is vital to the future. Maybe we did something that caused the future to happen the way it happened.>
So stealing an alien explosive and detonating it in the Cretaceous period is not only a good idea, it’s the best idea.
They decide to raid the Nesk’s base, but that involves morphing into a bunch of Tyrannosaurs. They very quickly get overwhelmed by the dinosaur’s mind, and Cassie ends up eating a Triceratops. She feels pretty guilty about it afterwards. (This also might be a bit of foreshadowing for the next ‘main series’ book, which takes place after this one in the chronology.)
They manage to get the Nesk warhead, in the process destroying a good portion of the Nesk’s base. They get in a bit of a tiff over this and decide to leave Earth…but not before they divert that comet so it’s on a collision with Earth. Also known as ‘history’s greatest dick move’.
The Mercora ask for the warhead, which they could use to destroy the comet. But that would mean the Animorphs would be stuck in the Cretaceous period. Amazingly, Tobias is the only one who makes the connection between dinosaurs, an incoming comet and the fact that the Mercora failed to exist at some point between dino-time (as it’s known) and the present.
He tells Ax to disable the warhead before giving it to the Mercora. That way the group won’t split over whether or not to help them, but they won’t have tried to alter Earth’s history by stopping the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous. Of course, that means they’re going to be on Earth when the comet hits and basically destroys the ecosystem. Fun times!
They head out to the ocean, figuring they’ll have the greatest chance of surviving if they’re underwater. The shockwave from the comet’s impact collapses the Sario rip that brought them to the past in the first place, which sends them hurtling through time and back to the present.
To sum up, they’ve gone back to the past, killed a few dinosaurs, chased an alien species off of Earth, been complicit in the extinction of a different alien species and ensured the integrity of Earth’s geological timeline. Not bad for a day’s work, eh?
(Oh, and before you ask, they can’t use their dinosaur morphs because something something Sario rip Applegate doesn’t want people asking why ‘Tyrannosaur rampage’ isn’t their default tactic for the rest of the series.)
Hilariously, the book ends with the following sarcastic note from Tobias:
<Hi, it’s me, Tobias. After we got back from our adventure in the late Cretaceous, I looked up some of the dinosaurs we encountered: Tyranno-saurus, Deinonychus, Saltasaurus, Spinosaurus, Elasmosaurus, Kronosaurus, and Triceratops. All of them were around during the Cretaceous Age. But paleontologists seem to think some of them, like Spinosaurus, were extinct by the middle Cretaceous, whereas we were in the late Cretaceous. All I can say is that I was almost eaten by a supposedly extinct Spinosaurus. So who are you going to believe? Me, or a bunch of scientists with some old fossils?>
You tell ‘em, Tobias.
Join me next time for my re-read of Animorphs #19: The Departure! It’s got a nice cover.