My name is Tobias. I can't give you my last name, or where I live. If you're reading this, you already know all about the Yeerks, so I'm not going to waste your time with that. You already know that we're in danger most of the time, fighting them. You also know that I had a human body, but during our first mission, I kind of got trapped as a red-tailed hawk.
I recently got my human body back, and my morphing powers, thanks to this being called the Ellimist. However, I can only become human for two hours at a time, or I'll be trapped like that. Mostly, I live out my life as a red-tailed hawk.
Aximili, who we call Ax because it's way easier to say, lives near me. He also has a human morph, but, like me, can only become human for two hours at a time. Not because he was trapped or anything. He's an Andalite who fights with us.
Ax is still figuring out us humans, but he could spend a whole lifetime on Earth and probably not get very far. We did buy him this almanac a few months back, which he devoured (not literally-Andalites only eat grass, but he might have tried in his human morph, come to think of it...) in a couple of days. So, we got him a couple of other science and useful human books as well.
That's how the following conversation came about. Let's just say I never expected to be explaining a children's bedtime story to an alien to explain what scientists think about life on other planets.
(Hello, Tobias,) Ax greeted me that evening, as I perched on a nearby tree.
(Hey, Ax-man,) I answered, and began the process of preening my feathers.
For those who aren't big on the grooming patterns of birds, it's kind of like brushing your hair. Keeps your feathers nice and clean and bug free. It's not just about looks as it's about flying better and, you know, general health maintenance. After all, being stuck as a bird indefinitely, I might as well take care of my bird body.
(I was reading one of the science books that Marco brought by,) Ax continued, (and I was confused by something in it.)
(Earth science confuses you?) I wondered. (I thought you Andalites were centuries beyond us with that stuff.)
(Oh, we are,) Ax assured me, but I knew that he wasn't being overly arrogant or anything. It was just a matter of fact that Andalites had discovered space travel way before us humans. (It is a term that your book refers to that is confusing.)
(Well, if you don't understand what it means, Ax-man, I'm not sure I'll be much help,) I admitted.
(Not the meaning of the term in the scientific sense,) Ax corrected. (How it came about. The book does not explain who this person is that the theory is based on, and I wish to expand my knowledge about this human scientist.)
(Did you check the index?) I wondered.
(Yes, but "Goldilocks" is not listed as one of the key terms,) Ax sighed.
I gave him a long stare, which probably was even more intense than any of the other Animorphs' stars would have looked like, given that I was a red-tailed hawk.
(Yes. They keep referring to this Goldilocks zone, with regards to the necessary conditions a planet must be from its star in order to support life. As well as other atmospheric conditions. It's extremely primitive science, as you are probably aware, and very problematic. After all, the Taxxons and the Ongachics came from a planet which, by the parameters listed according to this Goldilocks scientist, should not support life. However,) Ax continued, oblivious to my silence, (Goldilocks must be extremely well known and respected in your human scientific community, for his ideas to be taken as fact. Even NASA takes this theory as entirely true.)
(Ax, Goldilocks isn't a person,) I finally managed to get out.
Ax turned all four of his eyes towards me, which was probably just as creepy as my intense hawk stare.
(I do not understand. His theory is cited at various points in this textbook. How could he not be a person?) Ax reasoned.
(Well, first of all,) I began, (Goldilocks is a girl. Kind of.)
(You just said that Goldilocks is not a person, but now Goldilocks is a female? Please explain further, Tobias. I am greatly disturbed by this,) Ax complained.
(It's based on this bedtime story for kids,) I began. (It's called Goldilocks and the three bears. It's fiction.)
Ax nodded. (Yes, those types of stories for children are all fiction. Please proceed.)
(You...want me to tell you the story of Goldilocks?) I wondered.
To be honest, I wasn't 100% sure I even remembered all of it. Well, I could probably wing it. (Get it? Wing it?)
(Please,) Tobias requested.
(Well, okay. Um, there was this little girl with long blonde hair-) I began.
(Like Rachel,) Ax interrupted.
(Yeah, like Rachel, except she was way younger than Rachel. Goldilocks was a little girl,) I added.
(Ah, I see. A younger version of Rachel, then,) Ax determined.
I set my hawk stare on him. (Yeah. Sure, Ax.)
(I apologize for interrupting, Tobias. Please, continue,) Ax requested.
(Okay, no problem. So, Goldilocks goes out for a walk one day, by herself, and she gets lost in the woods. She's really hungry, and finds this house, and after knocking and no one answers the door, she tries to open it. Anyway, she heads inside,) I began.
(She invaded another person's home?) Ax asked, rather incredulous.
(Yeah. Kids stories sometimes have kids doing something that they're not supposed to do, and then they get punished or something for it. Then, when the mom or dad reads the story to their own kid, they use it to show their kid why you shouldn't do what the kid in the story does,) I explained. (Anyway, Goldilocks breaks into the house.)
I waited for Ax to respond to this, but he doesn't say anything, so I continue with the story.
(Like I said, she's hungry, and she sees three bowls of porridge...um, we call it "oatmeal" now...on the table. She takes a bite of po-oatmeal from one bowl. She spits it out because it's way too hot for her. She goes to the second bowl, and takes a bite from there. She spits that out, because, this time, it's way too cold for her. Then, she goes to the third bowl, which is a lot smaller, and it's the right temperature. So, Goldilocks eats the entire bowl.)
(Goldilocks not only breaks into another person's house, she eats their food?) Ax asks, clearly incredulous. (That is extremely rude.)
(Like I said. Kids in stories do stuff that they shouldn't, so that kids in real life know that they shouldn't act that way,) I explained.
Personally, I wondered how effective this strategy is...but it's not like kids won't figure out what they shouldn't do anyway, so, who knows. Maybe, this isn't the worst way to teach them.
(Now that she's not hungry,) I continued, (Goldilocks decides that she wants to explore the house and maybe sit down for awhile. She goes into another room and sees that there are three chairs. She tries out the first one, but it's too hard for her, so she gets up right away. The second chair, though, is way too soft. The third chair is very comfortable, except, it's kind of small for her, and when she gets up, it breaks.)
(Hmph,) Ax grumbled. (She not only stole their food, she broke their belongings.)
(Yeah, basically. Well, by now, Goldilocks is really tired, so she tries to find a bedroom. She does, and there are three beds inside. Sort of like the chairs, the first one is too hard, the second one is too soft, but the third one is just right,) I continued.
(I hope that she did not destroy the third bed!) Ax huffed.
(Naw, Ax-man, she just falls asleep and takes a long nap, instead,) I reassured him. (Anyway, she sleeps for so long that the owners of the house come back while she's still sleeping.)
(Do they call the human authorities to arrest this young female?) Ax wondered.
(Well, first, they have to find her,) I explained, and if I was human, I'd be grinning. Actually, this is kind of fun. (First of all, it's not a family of people that live in the house, but a family of bears.)
(Bears! That's impossible. Bears do not have human homes and they do not use human furniture!) Ax complained.
(It's a children's story, Ax. We know they don't in real life, but that kind of thing happens all the time in kids' books,) I explained. (So, anyway, the bear family comes home. Their names are Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear. The first thing they notice is that someone's eaten some of their food, and Baby Bear complains that his po-his oatmeal, I mean, is all gone. Then, they notice that someone's sat on their chairs, and Baby Bear sees that his chair is broken. Finally, they go into their bedroom, and see Goldilocks is sleeping in Baby Bear's bed.)
(And then, they call the bear police!) Ax finished, triumphantly.
(Not exactly. All the noise wakes up Goldilocks, and as soon as she sees the three bears standing over her, she jumps out the window and runs home. Um, that's the end of the story.)
(Goldilocks does not go to prison or have to fix the chair she broke?) Ax asked, hopefully.
(No, not this time. But, she probably is so scared at meeting three bears that she never trespasses again,) I added, hoping that settles things.
Ax sighed. (Well, I suppose that is sufficient.)
(So, you understand how that works with Goldilocks and outer space and life on other planets?) I asked, after a few minutes.
(Yes. According to the Goldilocks theory, life is very selective and can only occur under very stringent conditions,) Ax explained. (Given that most humans know the story of Goldilocks, scientists have used this delinquent human child as the standard for how life can develop in the universe.)
(Well, Ax-man, Goldilocks was never a real person,) I pointed out, as I preened my feathers. (It's just a story.)
(Yes,) Ax agreed, but his tone shows his reluctance. (Are there any other human stories that I should know in order to understand your human scientific theories?)
(Not that I'm aware of. But, hey, if you find something like that in the future, ask me or Marco or one of the others. We'll probably be able to explain it,) I offered.
(I will do so. Thank you, Tobias, for telling me that human story.) Ax gave me a mental smile.
(No problem, Ax-man. Now, I'm going to try to get some sleep. See you in the morning, okay?)
(See you then.) After a brief pause, Ax asked, (Tobias? Do your sleeping arrangements fit the Goldilocks requirements?)
Laughing at his attempt at a joke, I nodded. Or, you know, the bird version.
(Yeah, for a bird, they fit the Goldilocks parameters.)
(I am glad. Good night, Tobias.)
A/N: The Goldilocks term used for parameters for locating intelligent life was first invented in the 1970's, so I figure that Ax would have seen the phrase when he was reading human books. Not being human, he likely would have had no idea what it meant. Thus, the idea for this fanfic! (As I mentioned in the beginning, it takes place a little after "The Change", so Ax's housing arrangements and access to TV would have been fairly limited. Much less access to a computer with the Internet!)