I don't own Animorphs.

Words enclosed -like this- are thought speak.


My name is Aftran.

Usually, I'd introduce myself as Aftran-Nine-Four-Two of the Hett Simplat pool. That's how all of my kind introduce themselves (and in the case of one in particular, their oversized ego).

But not anymore. The number and the pool name don't matter anymore. If they knew the things I was involved in, the people I was involved with, the Hett Simplat pool would all wish me dead. My entire species, with very few exceptions, would want me dead.

See, I'm not human. I am an alien. A Yeerk, to be precise. And unfortunately, my species is invading Earth.

To put it simply, we're parasites. We crawl into the brain of another creature and take over completely. The creature is now a Controller. A slave to the Yeerk in its head. All the Gedds from our homeworld are Controllers. So are all the Taxxons. So are the Hork-Bajir, with a tiny number of exceptions. And so are many, many humans. You can't tell who is a Controller and who isn't. Even we Yeerks can't tell unless we know the person. And as unbelievable as it sounds, there are those like the Taxxons and some humans who voluntarily accept Yeerk control. My own host is voluntary. At least, she was once she found out I'd be her Yeerk.

Just like the Hork-Bajir, there are exceptions to the norm among the Yeerks too. I am one such exception.

I have never been pleased with the way my people invade and enslave. But for the longest time, I, like the rest of us, thought that was just how things were. Sure, some of us wished there was a different way, but we had no idea what that way was. We didn't even know if that way existed.

Then I met Cassie. And suddenly, I knew what the different way was.

Cassie is an Animorph. A human who posesses the Andalite morphing power, along with her friends Jake, Rachel, Marco, Tobias the boy trapped as a hawk, and the Andalite Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill. They all just call him Ax.

I have been inside the minds of Cassie and Ax, although the latter was just so I could locate a body part in order to save his life. Because of that, I was given the morphing power on the condition that I become a nothlit, a person who is trapped in a morph because they stayed in it for more than two hours. Tobias is a nothlit. Which is why I was currently a humpback whale.

I wouldn't be a whale for much longer, though.

Aftran Nine-Four-Two.

The voice sounded in my head. Not quite thought speak, but not out loud speech either.

-Who's there?- I called. Thought speak was my normal way of talking now.

You wish to be in the fight against the Yeerk Empire. You wish to end the involuntary infestations.

-Yeah, I do. But I can't. I made a promise to Cassie and Karen. That's why I'm here.- Karen had actually been somewhat sad to see me go. She wasn't such a reluctant host toward the end. Probably because she wasn't as scared of things when she knew I was with her and she wasn't alone. I hoped she'd kept her newfound confidence after I was gone.

You have an opportunity now. I can get you back into the fight. You could even join Cassie and her friends.

-How? They'd say I broke the deal.-

You would be returned to your natural form. They would know you couldn't make that change on your own.

Well, the voice had me there. And I was curious to see what it was talking about. I still wasn't sure about this, but I figured maybe I could milk the voice for information. I breached the surface and shot a geyser of water out my blowhole. I sucked in more air, the sank beneath the surface again.

-How would I even communicate with them?-

You would have minor physical alterations, allowing you to see, smell, hear, and thought speak. Also, a voluntary host.

-A voluntary host? Like they'd buy that.-

They know voluntary hosts exist. You are smart, you would find a way to prove it. A pause. Then the voice continued.

You would take an enormous step forward for the peace movement. You could actively impede involuntary infestations. You could save lives. Entire worlds. Aftran, you could-

-I'll do it- I said. Before I'd finished speaking, I found myself feeling very small. Literally. Somehow, I knew without looking.

I was a Yeerk again.

But I was different. For one thing, I could hear the waves crashing around me, for another, I smelled the sea air. And I could see! Mind you, my eyes were nothing like a raptor's eyes. They were probably only slightly better than a human's. But they were eyes! Mounted on short stalks, allowing me to move them around and look everywhere without moving.

I saw a human girl not far away. She looked up, and I swear somehow she saw me even as a wave carried me toward the beach and the girl.

That is her. The voice again. Only this time, I wasn't sure if it was speaking to me or the girl. Maybe it was both, because she ran over and snatched me out of the sand before the wave could pull me back out to sea. She held me up, looking me over.

"So, you're a Yeerk, huh." She said it like she didn't expect an answer, so I didn't give one. Not yet. I needed to get a feel for her first.

"Well, according to Mr. Big-Voice-in-my-head, things are about to get way more interesting for me." And with that, she held me up to her ear. So much for getting a feel, this girl was ready to jump right in.

My eyes and other new senses shut down as I entered. Not that I'd be needing them when inside a host. But I didn't need to see. This was instinct for me. Yes, there was the brain. Just like always, I spread myself out, letting myself sink in, letting myself tie in to all the necessary connections. There she was, waiting for me. Ava was her name (I'm not going to tell you her last name, she and I would like to live through this whole war)

-Your name's Aftran, right- came the voice of Ava.

-Huh? Oh, yes. Yes, I'm Aftran.-

-Cool. That big voice thing filled me in on the whole invasion and resistance thing. So, whaddaya say we go find your friends and figure out how we can help kick this Visser creep's butt back to his home planet?-

I don't know how she chose to be my host. But I knew right then that Ava and I would get along just fine. We would be a Yeerk/host team.

"Yes." I said with Ava's voice, "Let's do it."