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Fanfic / Eleutherophobia

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Due to the nature of this series, all spoilers for the Animorphs books will be unmarked.

My name is Tom. Just Tom, I guess, although you all know who I am. And I was infested for over three years.
The story of how I ended up with a yeerk in my head is about what you’d expect: I went to a Sharing meeting alone and left with a passenger. That story’s boring, and doesn’t have a happy ending.
How I ended up uninfested? That’s a little more interesting.
— Opening lines of The Day the Earth Stood Still

Eleutherophobianote  is a series of Animorphs Alternate Universe Fics by SoloMoon. The overarching premise is that Tom survived the final battle, but the Yeerk in his head did not. Now, he's learning to live again in a world reeling from the aftermath of a war, while dealing with his inner demons, his broken family, fellow ex-hosts, inconsiderate strangers, and occasionally aliens.

Six of the fics have audio readings by AlcatrazOutpatient. There's a side-series set in the same universe called Everbody's Free (to Fear the Future) The same author also wrote All Assorted Animorphs AUs.

These fanfics provide examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    The series as a whole 
  • Blaming the Victim: This is a major theme throughout the series.
    • Tom blames himself for getting infested at first — and so do several other people. In Back to the Future, his aunt and uncle say it served him right for wandering into a place he didn't belong; and in Ghost in the Shell, CNN Quote Mine him to make it sound like he was complicit in all the horrible things his Yeerks did.
    • Several television personalities in Lost World claim that people made Yeerks up so they don't have to take responsibility for their own actions.
    • Total Recall mentions the "Vicky Austin argument", named after a Controller who committed suicide on live television. Some lawyers think that any host could have done that if they really wanted to, so anyone who didn't (eg: Alloran) was secretly complicit, even though Fighting from the Inside is extremely difficult.
  • Cartesian Karma: Ex-hosts are frequently blamed for actions their Yeerks did. This is an especially big problem for Tom, whose Yeerk led a revolution shortly after the war went public, and strangers assume he's dangerous as a result. A recurring topic in Ghost in the Shell is if voluntary hosts who knew what they were signing up for deserve to be punished or not.
  • Character Tics: Many ex-hosts stim to remind themselves that they're still in control of their bodies — for instance, Tom clenches his right hand when he's feeling upset, while Eva fiddles with her bracelets.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: The Animorphs, and to a lesser extent Tom, are almost completely accustomed to injury and dismemberment. Cassie considers losing a hand a minor injury when discussing a television program. Jake likewise writes off being shot in the chest; he's survived much worse. Except he's doing this in front of his mother.
  • Continuation Fic: Besides the major canon-divergence of Tom being alive, the series is set during the aftermath of the war in The Beginning.
  • Doorstopper: The series, which has been continually published since 2014, has 15 books (most of which are only one chapter) and over 320,000 words.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Tom was already stated to be suicidal in canon, but this series explores it further. In War Games, he briefly contemplates shooting himself in the head with a Dracon beam. In City of Lost Children, he tries to regain control of his body and stab himself in the brain to kill Essa along with him, but he can't. In Ghost in the Shell, he tells Jake that he spent two months' worth of Yeerk Pool visits in a straightjacket because he couldn't even hide his suicidal thoughts from the Yeerks. In How I Live Now, he attempts suicide because he's scared that the Yeerks will infest him again and learn even more of the Animorphs' secrets.
    • In THX 1138, it turns out that the reason why Grandpa G died of a heart attack was because he swallowed an entire bottle of blood pressure meds that morning.
    • Essa torments Tom in City of Lost Children by reminding him of an escaped host who shot herself in the head with a Dracon beam.
    • In Total Recall, Tom describes the case of Vicky Austin, a cooking show (and Yeerk) host who was able to fight from the inside long enough to warn viewers about the Sharing and bash her brains out with a meat grinder on live television.
    • At the climax of Ghost in the Shell, Margaret kills herself by morphing into an angelfish in the courtroom after being declared guilty.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Discussed. Tom considers making a "who are you and what have you done with my father" joke in The Day the Earth Stood Still, and a sarcastic comment that he was never a good host in Back to the Future, but both times he stops himself because Yeerk infestation is no laughing matter.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: According to Word of God, the various members of the Berenson family have come to a lot of different conclusions about what happened to Saddler, most of which are logical, but wrong. note  Tom knew that there was some weird alien shit going on, but not what it was. He suspects that Jake and Rachel made Saddler an Animorph to save his life, but Saddler got killed on his first mission, but doesn't want to admit the possibility. After Jake admits in Ghost In The Shell that there was another Animorph who Rachel dealt with, Tom tries very hard to not admit to himself that he thinks that Rachel had to kill Saddler.
  • Fantastic Legal Weirdness: The series takes place in The Unmasqued World, so it has plenty of this:
    • A news programme in Lost World mentions someone whose life sentence for murdering his elderly neighbour was overturned because it turned out he was a Controller at the time.
    • Total Recall is about Esplin's trial. Since courts on Earth have never had to deal with cases of possession before, the defence were able to throw out Alloran's testimony because they considered it self-incrimination, just like in canon. There's also the Vicky Austin argument, which incriminates ex-hosts for not Fighting from the Inside hard enough, named after a Controller who committed suicide on live television.
    • In Ghost in the Shell, Steve mentions that there's now a Twenty-Eighth Amendment that forbids taking on someone else's physical form through morphing or infestation.
    • Ghost in the Shell also reveals that Voluntary Controllers are being put on trial for treason and or accessory to murder, but very few of them go anywhere because of how hard it is to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that they were voluntary.
    • Discussed in How I Live Now. Cassie says it would be illegal for the bus company to not let Toby on the bus; Rachel is shocked to learn there are anti-discrimination laws for aliens.
  • Fantastic Slur: Ex-hosts are sometimes called "zombies" due to their unresponsiveness. Tom, being one for Self-Deprecation, takes this in stride. "Yeerk-head" is an even nastier term.
  • Fictional Disability: Ex-hosts frequently have a disorder called Post-Infestation Affective Blunting Syndrome. Due to not being able to use their own bodies for so long, their brains lose the ability to perform automatic actions. They rarely make facial expressions, have uncoordinated movements and slurred speech, and take a while to respond to outside stimuli.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Throughout the series, ex-hosts are blamed for not doing more to stop their Yeerks, but the truth is that it's incredibly hard to rebel against them. It takes Tom "every ounce of [his] willpower" just to clench a knife and close his eyes for half a second in City of Lost Children.
  • Fix Fic: While Sol likes the ending of Animorphs, the idea behind the AU was to have Jake's post-war life suck slightly less than in canon. She accomplished this by sparing Tom.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All of the fics (except A Straight Line Down Through the Heart) are named after sci-fi movies. Additionally, all the chapters of Ghost in the Shell are named after songs, and all the chapters of The Thing from Another World, Escape from L.A., and How I Live Now are named after Animorphs quotes.
  • Inhumanable Alien Rights: It's mentioned a few times that some humans are uncomfortable with the Hork-Bajir presence on Earth. Most of those Hork-Bajir were born in Yeerk slavery and have no means or will to return to their species' home world, so leaving them to inhabit Yellowstone is the best option as it was in canon. However, Cassie darkly mentions that certain humans want Hork-Bajir classified as animals to have free reign over them and their new habitat, while the authorities who allowed for Hork-Bajir rights care more about surface victories like "Hork-Bajir friendly stairs", never mind that Hork-Bajir are perfectly capable of climbing human stairs and don't regularly hang out in human buildings, being an arboreal species.
  • Kill the Host Body:
    • The entire series hinges on a subversion of this; it diverges from canon when Tom doesn't die with his Yeerk.
    • In Total Recall, Tom recalls a human-controller named Vicky Austin who committed suicide on live television after warning people about the Sharing. However, it's mentioned in Ghost in the Shell that her Yeerk survived.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Tom's second Yeerk is given the name Essa 412 and the rank Visser Seventeen. Sub-Visser Fifty-One is given the name Irdiss 435. Marco, Cassie, and Collette are given the last names Alvarez, Day, and Wells, respectively. David's father is named George Little. The Governor of California from #51 (who is now the president) is named June Boatwright.
  • Original Flavour: The author sticks as close to K. A. Applegate's writing style and tone as possible, balancing the hilarious, heart-wrenching, and horrifying.
  • Posthumous Character: The series starts with Essa 412's death, but his actions have left Tom with lasting mental scars. There's also Vicky Austin, a cooking show (and Yeerk) host whose suicide is mentioned a couple of times.
  • Preferable Impersonator: Ex-hosts commonly face this problem. After years of having Puppeteer Parasites get good grades and generally act agreeable in their bodies, their families and friends have a hard time getting used to their now-traumatised true selves.
    Tom: My ears were working just fine, even if I couldn’t communicate worth a damn. I heard all those times when you told me how much more mature I’d gotten, how the Sharing had been such a good influence.
  • Running Gag: People keep mistaking Tom for Jake.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock:
    • It's mentioned in THX 1138 that some people, nicknamed "transcenders", choose to permanently morph into new bodies, though it requires a ton of paperwork beforehand.
    • In Slaughterhouse-Five, Jake warns his class that the punishment for abusing morphing is being made into a nothlit.
    • Tom comes close to getting stuck as a king cobra in Escape from L.A. while he's lost in the sewers; he's barely able to demorph on time.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: Most of the Original Characters, as well as Tom's second Yeerk and David's dad, are named after characters from other books; the author posted a full list on their Tumblr blog.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The premise is that the real Tom survived the final battle; Sol said on Tumblr that this was because she wanted to give Jake a shoulder to cry on. THX 1138 reveals that some of the Auxiliary Animorphs survived as well.
  • The Stoic: Ex-hosts have a flat effect because they find it difficult to emote, which causes people out-of-the-know to think they're unemotional.
  • The Unmasqued World: The series takes place during the aftermath of the war in the epilogue of Animorphs, where the general public are still adjusting to the revelation that aliens exist.

    The Day the Earth Stood Still 
  • Action Prologue: The fic begins with Tom morphing to heal his near-fatal injuries, killing Essa, and then falling off the Blade Ship.
  • Big Damn Reunion: Jake hugs Tom and cries into his shoulder after the latter is freed from custody; while they'd technically only been apart for a few days, the real Tom last spoke to Jake three years ago.
  • Canon Character All Along: George Little gives Tom a few hints about his identity in chapter 2 — he used to work for the National Security Agency, he lived in the same town as the Animorphs when he and his wife got infested, and their son has been missing ever since — then at the end, he drops a bombshell: his son's name is David.
  • Cassandra Truth: None of the soldiers believe Tom when he says that his Yeerk is dead, so he has to be detained for three days to see if it starves out. The little girl in the cell next to him also doesn't believe that he's really Jake's brother.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Tom acquires Jake near the end to calm him down. He later morphs into Jake for subterfuge in The Thing from Another World and again in Escape from L.A.
  • Dirty Mind-Reading: Discussed. Tom thinks about sex for the first time in over three years while waiting for his parents to be released from custody, now that there's no-one to witness it.
  • Dramatic Irony: There are two references to David in chapter 2. First, Tom recalls Saddler miraculously recovering from his coma then suddenly disappearing two days later, and assumes aliens must have been involved. Then, the man in the cell next to him turns out to be David's father, who hopes to see his son again. Tom doesn't know that David was responsible for Saddler's disappearance, nor that he's most likely dead.
  • Extranormal Prison: Tom is sent to a temporary prison for human-Controllers who can morph, so it has anti-morphing rays mounted on the walls.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Subverted. Tom feels at peace when he's at death's door because he'll at least get to rest and take Essa with him... but then Essa escapes, and an instinctual part of Tom chooses to morph and live.
  • Falling into the Plot: Shortly after saving himself, Tom falls from the Blade ship in low orbit and has a matter of seconds to morph wings so he can slow his fall.
  • Glassy Prison: The military places Tom in a plexiglass cell so they can observe him for three days.
  • Humans Are Insects: A Yeerk with a little girl for a host gives Tom a speech about how humans are nothing more than micro-organisms destined to be enslaved by an infinitely superior species.
  • In Medias Res: The fic begins during chapter 1 of The Beginning, hours before the end of the war.
  • Limb-Sensation Fascination: Tom entertains himself by wiggling his fingers of his own volition.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Bear-Rachel slams into Tom so hard that his skull shatters and his ribs puncture his lungs. He narrates that the pain alone would've killed him if he'd been in control of his body at the time.
  • Not Used to Freedom: Tom takes a while to get used to moving on his own again, and keeps trying to mentally argue with a Yeerk that's no longer there.
  • Point of Divergence: The entire Eleutherophobia series only happens because Rachel attacks Tom on the Blade ship before he morphs, rather than after, giving the real Tom a brief window of time to save himself.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Tom thinks about how Saddler miraculously recovered from a coma and then disappeared two days later and assumes that aliens were involved somehow. He's close: it was caused by a human using alien technology.
  • Shapeshifter Mashup: Tom starts morphing to golden eagle before he's done demorphing from cobra. He hits the ground as a scaly human with wings.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Tom spends about half the fic worrying that his house has been destroyed and Homer is dead. Turns out that's not the case.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: In-Universe, Tom recalls reading a "shitty depressing book" in English class about a family who spent four hundred pages roadtripping to California, only to discover that California was worse than the place they left behind. All he got out of it was that the universe had organised itself around making the characters miserable.

    Lost World 
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Tom has spent the past few years surrounded by aliens, but refuses to believe that Jake has time-travelled multiple times.
"Remind me not to get wrapped up in any time paradoxes any time soon, then." I grimaced. "There's already enough bad sci-fi crap in my life."
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Jake discusses this while watching Jurassic Park; during the scene where a character says a T. rex can't see them if they're standing still, Jake says that's not true, which he knows from first-hand experience.
  • Brainless Beauty: Discussed. Tom repeatedly snarks that the women in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) are there to look pretty rather than think logically.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: In-Universe, a woman appears on Dr. Phil because she cheated on her husband while under the control of a Puppeteer Parasite, but Dr. Phil victim-blames her by saying that a Yeerk is just a voice in one's head.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Tom thinks the dinosaurs are the real heroes of Jurassic Park for killing most of the annoying characters.
  • Take That!: Some of the channels Tom flips through contain real-life politicians who disbelieve that the Yeerk invasion happened and that everything regarding it is a conspiracy against them, certain showrunners who proudly do no mythological research when appropriating Andalite culture, sitcoms retconning character behavior as them having been infested by Yeerks, and so on.

    War Games 
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Jean shouts out Tom's full name — Thomas Isaiah Berenson — when she sees him holding a Dracon beam.
  • Metaphorgotten: Tom compares the king cobra to beach bums, spending most of their time laying in the sun and barely bothering to move except to eat... and then goes off on a tangent about how sunbathers don't tend to swallow mongooses whole.
  • Nightmare Sequence: This fic begins with Tom having a nightmare where he's a Controller again and is forced to kill his family.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Defied; when Tom morphs into a cobra, he comments that they're actually very chill and spend most of their time sunbathing.

    City of Lost Children 
  • Dramatic Irony: Jean berates Jake for his failing school performance and wishes he could be more like Tom, who's a seemingly perfect student. Of course, the readers know that Jake is fighting a secret war in order to free people like Tom from Puppeteer Parasites. Also, Tom insists that Jake doesn't know that he's a Controller, even though Jake has known for about a year at that point.
  • Empty Shell: Tom recalls hosts who never move or react to anything while their Yeerks are out of them.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Jean berates Jake for being incredibly secretive about why he keeps skipping school. Tom and Essa both come to the conclusion that he's been doing drugs. In reality, Jake's been fighting in a secret war.
  • He Knows Too Much: Tom fears that if Jake suspects that something is wrong with The Sharing, he'll be made into a Controller, too.
  • Helpless Observer Protagonist: This takes place while Tom is still a Controller, so he can do nothing but watch as his mother and brother argue with each other. His only act of agency is a brief moment of Fighting from the Inside.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Played for Drama. Tom regains control of his body for about a second and clenches his hand around a steak knife, but his Yeerk stops him from stabbing himself through the eye and killing them both.
  • Prequel: This is the earliest fic in the Eleutherophobia timeline, taking place years before the point of divergence from canon.
  • Rapid-Fire "Shut Up!": Essa taunts Tom with the idea that Jake is going to die of a drug overdose while Tom mentally screams at him to shut up.
  • Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: One of Essa's many condescending remarks to Tom is calling humans "your sad little species".

    THX 1138 
  • Bad Liar: Collette introduces herself as an Animorph, then tells Tom that she's in a wheelchair because of an "old war wound". Tom immediately realises that this doesn't add up.
  • Foreshadowing: There's a brief mention of a blonde woman visiting two children on life support. She matches the description of Margaret from Ghost in the Shell, who we later learn has several permanently-hospitalised children.
  • Gesundheit: Tom says "bless you" in response to his dad talking about synaptic pruning.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Steve Berenson tells Joey's mother that he can't prescribe her son medicine because it's not his area of expertise.
  • Obnoxious Entitled Housewife: The ranting mother of one little boy doesn't get why he's so unresponsive nowadays, since he had a social life and perfect grades before the Yeerk left his head. Tom respects his dad for keeping his cool around this woman.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Colette wonders out loud why Tom's parents weren't suspicious when he started getting straight As after becoming a Controller... and immediately regrets it when Tom freezes.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Tom overhears his dad compare PIABS to the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and assumes that he has schizophrenia at first.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Tom is surprised to meet Collette because he thought all the Auxiliaries were dead.
  • Speech Impediment: Both of the children with Post-Infestation Affective Blunting Syndrome that Tom meets hardly talk at all.
  • Take That!: Jodi O'Shea (the second child) is named after a character from The Host (2008), a book that Sol loves... except for the ending, which treats vegetative people being used as hosts for Puppeteer Parasites as a good thing. In THX 1138, Tom makes it clear that Jodi should be treated as a person, not a piece of furniture.

    These Are the Damned 
  • Cessation of Existence: Tom asks Jake what it felt like to be deadnote ; Jake responds that he remembers nothing, and it terrifies him.
  • In Vino Veritas: Both of the brothers get underage-drunk. Jake talks about how he and his friends feel about the war being over, while Tom talks about what it was like to be treated as a slave for years.
  • Mind Rape: Discussed. Tom says that his Yeerks punished him for "thoughtcrime" by making it feel like his "head’s about to explode" for hours.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Jake said in an interview that when he was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be like Kevin Johnson... or his own older brother. Eight hours later, Tom is still getting phone calls asking for a quote.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Tom mentions a British tabloid that was very interested in knowing if one could use morphing to change the size of one's penis.
  • Shout-Out: Tom discusses the concept of "thoughtcrime" from Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • Victory Is Boring: Jake says that he felt like the war was easier because he only had to focus on survival everyday, whereas now he has loads of problems to deal with.

  • Brick Joke: Jake in lizard morph coughs up the spider he ate all the way back in The Invasion.
  • Fun T-Shirt: Tom sees T-shirts on eBay with phrases such as “Join the Sharing - you have nothing to lose but your brains!” or “Come for the volleyball, stay because you have no choice!” written on them.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Tom describes the Howler's normal speaking voice as "nails on a chalkboard".
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: The fic is about Jake morphing uncontrollably as a result of acquiring DNA he's allergic to, just like Rachel in The Reaction.
  • Obviously Not Fine: Jake insists that he's fine while sneezing and morphing uncontrollably.
  • Pluralses: Jake jokes that since the cat he burped out is a clone of one called Muffins, there are now two Muffinses.
  • Primal Fear: There's quite a bit of screaming after Jake accidentally morphs into an anaconda in the middle of the waiting room.
  • Rule of Funny: The only possible explanation for the aforementioned Brick Joke.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Tom doesn't realize the danger (though Marco does), but Jake morphing into a Howler could be lethal to everyone in the hospital if he sneezes.

    Back to the Future 
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Tom describes Jake at his most intimidating as being able to make war-princes cry, top-ranked vissers beg for mercy, and his family forget what an incredible dork he is the rest of the time.
  • Ascended Extra: This fic features the extended Berenson family, most of whom were either supporting characters or only mentioned in passing.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Steve doesn't want Tom talking about Yeerks in front of his great-grandmother, even as she blames Tom for things Essa 412 did.
  • Continuity Nod: Tom mentions that the scent of "Muffins Episode I" is all over Mrs. Gruen's yard, as in the cat that Jake acquired and burped out in Akira.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: Inverted. Most of the extended Berenson family judge the real Tom by things Temrash 114 and/or Essa 412 did while controlling him.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: A lot of people don't believe that Yeerks exist, including Jake and Tom's great-grandmother, even though the war has been all over the news and most of the Berenson family were personally involved.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Jordan is upset that some people don't believe that Yeerks exist, because that would mean Rachel died for nothing. Tom tells her that her sacrifice did matter, because she stopped Visser Seventeen from killing all the inhabitants of a planet called Anarres, even though none of them will ever know who she was.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Aunt Leah and Uncle Joe casually ask Tom why he got infested, not realising that it was an incredibly traumatic experience.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Aunt Ellen and Uncle Dan are having trouble coping with Saddler's and Rachel's deaths, respectively. At the dinner table, Jake references the story of Moses, where the blood of the firstborn was the price for freedom.
  • Permissive Parents: Steve allows Tom to drink alcohol despite being underage because both of his sons have lived through more hell during their teenage years than most people do in their entire lifetimes.
  • Promotion to Parent: Jordan's doing her best take care of Sarah while their mother deals with Rachel's death, and their father flakes off even worse than he did before.
  • Psychic Static: Tom admits that he got his habit of swearing because it annoyed Temrash 114; Essa 412, meanwhile, was more annoyed by Britney Spears songs. When his parents were briefly Controllers, his mom mentally played Barry Mallinow on a loop, while his dad recited the Periodic Table.
  • Tap on the Head: Tom recalls a time when he watched his dad's Yeerk hit a girl on her head and knock her unconscious when they were both Controllers.
  • Tragic Intangibility: Discussed; Tom wasn't literally intangible, but he compares his time as a Controller to being a ghost, ever-present but unable to interact with anything or anyone.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: For Jordan and Sarah, who attend the reunion with their father. It goes no better than it usually does, with Dan making promises he won't keep, Sarah believing him and being disappointed, and Jordan not bothering to hide her dislike of him. When it ends, Tom understands why Naomi hates their side of the family for siding with Dan in the divorce.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: Dan calls Tom "Visser Seventeen" when he's drunk, and says that he can't make him do anything. Since the entire plot of the fic is Tom being frustrated that his relatives keep conflating him with his Yeerk, he doesn't take this well.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Tom mentions that his great-grandmother's rant contains just enough Yiddish words that he doesn't understand what she's talking about at first.

    Ghost in the Shell 
  • Agony Beam: Tom describes that after his escape attempt in #1, the Yeerks punished him and the other hosts by making every nerve feel excruciating pain.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Margaret kills herself after being found guilty by morphing into a fish in the middle of a courtroom.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Margaret kills herself after being declared guilty, but the publicity surrounding her death has motivated people to donate to a fund that supports her surviving children.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • When Tom reunites with Bonnie at a Matter Over Mind meeting, he reminisces on his memories of his crush on her, which culminated with her asking him out, inviting him to The Sharing, and watching in apparent apathy as he was made into a Controller.
    • The questions Tom and Eva have been asked in interviews include what Jake's favourite foods are, what Marco was like as a baby, and how it feels to be forced to attempt to murder one's family.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Tom is constantly mistaken for Jake. It stops being funny when everyone realises why someone tried to kill Jake— the would-be killer saw Jake standing next to Eva, but from behind, assumed that Jake was Tom and shot him without making sure they had the right target first.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: When Tom and Tobias argue over who was responsible for Rachel's death, Tom blames Effilit 1318, the Yeerk that controlled the morpher who killed Rachel. In How I Live Now, it turns out that Effilit is controlling Rachel.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Margaret kills herself by morphing into an angelfish in the middle of a courtroom. The angelfish morph is too big to be put in a glass of water, it lives in salt water and not fresh water, and it would have required salt water with a mix of electrolytes and bacteria that nobody would have been able to get on short notice- in short, she made absolutely sure to pick a morph that nobody could have possibly saved her from dying in without knowledge of her plans.
  • Cut Your Heart Out With A Spoon: When seeing footage of Essa-in-Tom giving Jake a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, Tom remembers Rachel shouting threats that "had been extremely graphic and mostly centered around the theme of her breaking my skull open with her bare hands, digging the yeerk out with a shrimp fork, and barbecuing it to death over the course of several hours if it laid one more finger on Jake."
  • The Dead Have Names: Tom is horrified after coming across a dead former-Controller and seeing the attending police talking derisively about her and treating her death like an inconvenience, not as a tragedy.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Since this is set in 2000, Eva doesn't understand why Marco would be open about being bisexual.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Tom recalls a time when he saw Visser One shoot a man in the leg and leave him to be eaten by Taxxons because he accidentally brewed her coffee wrong.
  • Double-Blind What-If: Briefly touched upon. Tom says to Rachel's grave that he used to think everyone would be better off if she'd succeeded at killing him. She did kill him in canon, and his family definitely wasn't better off for it.
  • Dramatic Irony: Tom sees a comment on the Matter Over Mind forums saying that broccoli is from space and dismisses it as nonsense, even though In the Time of Dinosaurs revealed that it was an alien race's crop that they brought to Earth.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Bonnie, mostly due to the fact that her Yeerk was doing the driving for her when she had a license.
  • Empty Shell:
    • Defied when Tom sees footage of Essa giving Jake a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the news; he remembers Essa saying that he thought there was "nothing left" of Tom until he just started screaming internally.
    • The Yeerks discovered that hosts who were infested from a young age would never develop a consciousness, and tried to "breed" humans for this purpose.
  • Fingore: Tom is so freaked out by CNN accusing him of being a voluntary controller that he runs into the bathroom, cuts two fingers off, and concentrates really hard so they won't grow back when he morphs. It doesn't work.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Tom and Bonnie discuss how morphing works, and it's mentioned that it doesn't heal all injuries — Alloran still has a few battle scars despite morphing countless times — and Tom muses that he's the perfect host now that he has the morphing power. A few chapters later, Tom freaks out about the idea of the Yeerks returning, and tries to permanently cut off two of his fingers so he won't be considered a viable host.
    • Margaret is described as wearing a skintight top. It turns out that she's morph-capable, so that's presumably her morphing suit.
  • Freedom from Choice: Discussed. Bonnie tells Tom that she's having a hard time deciding what kind of jam to buy, now that she no longer has a Yeerk to choose for her.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: The host murders. On the one hand, the victims were mostly voluntary hosts, but on the other hand, many voluntary hosts were people desperately looking for a reason to live, or were only 'voluntary' in the sense that they were told 'Either you let us infest you or we'll take your whole family'. On the one hand, Margaret was murdering people, but on the other hand, they willingly participated in a project where she and other women were repeatedly raped, impregnated and forced to give birth to children who were subsequently infested, rendering them Empty Shells. By the end of the story, Tom genuinely isn't sure that he did the right thing in stopping the murders.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Margaret in snow leopard morph bites Tom in cobra morph in half. Fortunately, he doesn't die instantly, but comments that contrary to popular belief, snakes can't actually survive being cut in half.
  • Hey, You!: According to Tom, saying this to a former Controller whose actual name you don't know is much better than calling them by their Yeerk name.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Eva says she hates voluntary Controllers for being complicit with the Yeerk Empire's slavery, but Tom argues that most of them were either from desperate situations, or wanted to keep their families safe... like him, and admits that he offered to stop fighting Temrash if he'd promise that Tom's family wouldn't be infested. (Temrash didn't take the offer.)
  • Incriminating Indifference: Discussed. CNN claims that Tom was a voluntary accomplice of the Yeerks, and they use footage of him looking blank-faced at Rachel's funeral as evidence of this. In reality, Tom is The Stoic because he has Post-Infestation Affective Blunting Syndrome.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Taylor calls Tom "Visser Seventeen" when she spots him at a Matter Over Mind meeting because she doesn't know his actual name. Tom doesn't take this well.
  • In-Series Nickname: Eva gets called 'Visser Mom' a few times. She finds it mildly annoying, everyone else thinks it's funny.
  • I Read It for the Articles: Tom sees an issue of National Geographic with Cassie on the cover under Jake's bed, and asks Jake if he reads it for the articles. Jake is unamused.
  • Jerkass: Taylor is as unpleasant as ever.
  • Kick the Dog: Tom mentions that Temrash 114 got rid of his childhood things to punish him.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Jake's reaction to being shot is to morph and then yell at the emergency medical technicians that he's okay and has been shot many times before.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Tom is mortified at the idea that Jake might've seen some of his most intimate memories when Temrash died.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: At one point, Jake is looking at something on the computer and tries to hide it when Tom comes in. Tom assumes that Jake was looking at porn, but it turns out he was reading forum posts about Yeerks and momentarily forgot that Tom isn't one of them anymore.
  • Mistaken from Behind: Played for Drama. The serial killer shoots the wrong target because of a case of mistaken identity; she wanted to kill Tom, but mistook Jake for him from behind while he was with Eva, who spends more time with Tom than Jake.
  • Music for Courage: Tom recalls a night on Christmas Eve (and the first night of Hanukah) where a young boy begam to sing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". After a few moments of shocked silence, a few others began to join in. Then Essa 412 snapped the boy's neck.
  • Mythology Gag: Tom recalls Essa 412 inserting Yeerks directly into people's ears without having to go to the Yeerk Pool first, which was a common occurrence in the TV show.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: When CNN shows footage of Essa-in-Tom giving Jake a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, Tom remembers Jake saying "several words that our dad probably wasn’t aware Jake even knew, and definitely would have grounded him for using."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Tom recalls that many of the human witnesses the Animorphs spared were made into Controllers in order to cover up the out-of-place wild animals wreaking havoc around the city.
  • Noodle Incident: Jake describes one where the rest of the Animorphs freed a bunch of hermit crabs from a tacky beachside giftshop at Cassie's behest.
  • No Sympathy: Taylor has been trying to get into Matter Over Mind for a while, but since she infamously sold out the human race to have a pretty face again, nobody there wants her around.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Tobias uses the Hork-Bajir swear word "hrthesthr", which literally translates to "one who is so careless in cutting the bark from a tree as to damage the wood underneath, causing the entire tree to become diseased and rot". Tom mainly heard it used to refer to Yeerks.
  • Questionable Consent: Eva is of the opinion that all voluntary hosts are traitors and should be treated as criminals; Tom points out that there's degrees of voluntary, and not all the voluntaries knew what they were doing by volunteering. Some were suicidal and latched onto the first thing that they thought would give them a reason to live, and others were given the 'choice' of 'Either you let us infest you and don't fight it, or you can fight it and watch while we take your whole family'.
  • Quote Mine: While protesting for ex-hosts to be given the same rights as other prisoners of war, Tom is approached by CNSB reporters who ask him what he feels about voluntaries. He says that they aren't all worth prosecuting and certainly don't deserve to be murdered, and society should focus on rebuilding instead of witch-hunting. A few hours later, the news shows a cut-down version of that interview with the claim that Tom was a voluntary Controller all along, because why else would he be concerned about voluntaries being punished?
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Defied. After watching himself be victim-blamed on the news, Tom looks in the bathroom mirror and thinks about how he can pull the same cruel expressions as the Puppeteer Parasites who wore his body, but decides not to smash it.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After learning about the fugue, Tom asks Jake why he never told him that he saw some of his memories when Temrash died, which leads to Tom ranting about how Jake didn't do more to save him during the war.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: It turns out that Margaret was an involuntary host who the Yeerks forcibly impregnated several times. Tom thinks this is the most depraved thing the Yeerks have done, and Tobias is disgusted that humans agreed to it.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Both times Tom and Bonnie have sex, there's a scene break just before the intercourse starts.
  • Slogan-Yelling Megaphone Guy: Played for Laughs; Tom sees a group of people chanting "JUSTICE!" at the protest, but has no idea what their cause is.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • When Tom asks Jake and Marco if they gave anyone the morphing power before the auxiliaries, Marco gets oddly defensive and insists that they didn't. Of course, the readers know that they don't like to talk about David.
    • When Jake brings up the time the other Animorphs released 100 hermit crabs from a surf shop, Marco insists that he's falsely accusing him.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: It turns out that the reason why Margaret killed all those former-voluntaries was because they'd signed up for a project in which she and several other involuntary women were raped.
  • Take That!: When a police officer questions the boys about who would want to shoot Jake, one of their first guesses is PETA.
  • Talking to the Dead: During Margaret's trial, Tom visits Rachel's grave and talks about how he's grateful to be alive.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Tom throws a plate towards Jake during his rant about how much he suffered as a Controller.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Jean says that her Yeerk cut her hair short. It's Played for Laughs as part of her embarrassing attempts at small talk, but a major theme throughout the fic is ex-hosts recovering from the trauma of having their bodily autonomy stolen from them.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: The fic centres around a support group for former involuntary Yeerk hosts called Matter Over Mind. Tom originally wanted to call it Alien Abductees Anonymous, but it turned out to be copyrighted by the Skrit Na's victims.
  • Twisted Christmas: Tom recalls a Christmas Eve (which was also the first night of Hanukkah) when his Yeerk used his bare hands to snap a child's neck for singing "O Come Emmanuel".
  • Two-Faced: Taylor's body is falling apart, with the most noticeable part being the half of her plastic face that has broken off.
  • Understatement: After Tom is bitten in half while in cobra morph, he spends several paragraphs talking about how people used to believe snakes would grow back if you decapitated them, followed by: "Anyway, you can see why I was a little worried."
  • Vile Vulture: Margaret's bird morph is an Andean condor. It's big and powerful enough to kill the policeman who was guarding the house and nearly kill Tom in owl morph, but Tobias is able to fly rings around her.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Tom manages to stop the killer, but when he finds out their reason, he's absolutely horrified and thinks that he should have left them to it.

    Total Recall 
  • Big Damn Kiss: Cassie suddenly grabs Jake and kisses him before he gets on the plane because Tom told her to try to reconcile with him.
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: Jake and Tom have to pass through a ton of security checks at an airport. They get past the scanners derived from alien technology just fine, but a good old fashioned metal-detector reacts to the pins and metal plate in Tom's knee that he didn't know were still there.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Marco starts his testimony by telling the defense attorney that if Jake isn't "mentally sound enough" to deliver one, then neither is he, because he's had trauma symptoms since his mother disappeared when he was eleven.
  • Shout-Out: Tom reads a book about 80 people fleeing a doomed Earth, which is clearly meant to be Remnants, another K. A. Applegate series.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: The description calls it the "worst Eurotrip ever".

    The Thing from Another World 
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: In the epilogue, the Animorphs tell Tom that he's an estreen, but he doesn't want to believe them. After a moment of introspection, he tries to change the subject by joking that he's Anastasia Romanov.
  • Body Horror: According to Tom, humans who cut themselves on atmosphere-vacuum coating get a severe case of heavy metal poisoning that causes their affected limb to swell up and blacken, and they die within days.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Tobias says Rachel's "let's do it" catchphrase. Tom doesn't notice the significance of it.
  • The Cavalry: The Animorphs send out a mirrorwave message to get Ax to help them, since the Andalites know more about alien viruses than the U.S. military do. They get Alloran instead, who's still on Earth and more than willing to defend the children he owes his life to (and Tom).
  • Chekhov's Gun: Alloran reveals that said heavy metal poisoning can cure Marco of The Virus — they need to scratch his arm with a piece of vacuum coating, wait until it kills the pathogen, and then he can morph to heal the injury.
  • Delirious Misidentification: When Tom and Alloran enter Marco's room to tell him how he's going to be cured, he freaks out because he thinks they're still Controllers and are going to infest him.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Tom can't help but stare at Alloran-as-Aria's boobs, and apparently they distracted the military base's guards as well.
  • Exact Words: Doctor Short asks Tom how many alien species he's interacted with. He says two, because even though he's seen many more, it was his Yeerks interacting with them.
  • Fainting Seer: When Tobias and Jake send out a mirrorwave message for Ax, Cassie faints like she did in The Message... and so does Tom, leading her to realise that he's an estreen.
  • Immune to Bullets: Alloran morphs into a gelatinous tentacle monster. The military people shoot him with both regular bullets and Dracon beams, but they don't harm him at all.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Tom is annoyed when Cassie says that true parasites don't harm their hosts.
  • Noodle Incident: Tobias mentions a time when Ax was kicked out of a Burger King for drinking mustard.
  • The Team Normal: Mr. Chapman, a normal human, spends the first half of the story helping the morph-capable teenagers navigate the Skrit Na ship.
  • Token Adult: Tom is put in charge of Jake, Cassie, and Marco on a mission investigate a crashed Skrit Na ship because the military wanted a legal adult to supervise them. It's downplayed because he's only a few years older than them.
  • The Virus: Everyone on board the Skrit Na ship was killed by an alien pathogen that causes people to become violent cannibals. Then Marco gets infected.
  • We Need a Distraction: Jake tells Cassie to morph into an elephant and wreck the air force base so the soldiers won't notice the boys sneaking back onto the Skrit Na ship.
  • Your Mom: Discussed in the epilogue. Marco asks Tom who he's texting, and he replies with "your mom". Ax starts a tangent about how he recognises that form of humour, until Marco says that Tom was being literal.

    A Straight Line Down Through the Heart 
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Tom gives Cassie a list of drinks that starts off normal, then ends with motor oil and human blood.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Tom kicks Bonnie's ankle when she's about to mention how they kept morph-capable hosts contained in the Yeerk Pool.
  • Continuity Nod: Cassie notices the slash marks on the sofa that Jake created as a tiger back in War Games.
  • N-Word Privileges: Cassie objects to Tom and Bonnie calling themselves "zombies" at first, but after they explain that it's nowhere near as bad as the other slurs for ex-hosts, Cassie concludes that it's okay for them to say it because they were Controllers for so long; Jake's parents are a grey area because they were only hosts for a few months, while she and Jake shouldn't say it at all because they were only briefly infested.
  • The Nth Doctor: Jean says that in the cheesy soap opera she writes for, an evil scientist injected a character called Emily with a drug that turned her into a different actress. Tom implies that this was retconned into Emily being trapped in morph after the invasion became public.
  • Oddball in the Series: Unlike the other fics, this one is in third-person, present tense, and from Cassie's point of view.
  • The Power of Love: The cheesy soap opera that Jean's writing has a scene where a host breaks free of her Yeerk's control long enough to have an entire conversation with her lover. Everyone objects to this, since that's not how Fighting from the Inside works.
  • Romantic Ribbing: Tom calls Bonnie an "overachiever" when she arrives at their double-date; Cassie thinks they're arguing at first due to their flat tones of voice, but then she realises they're teasing when they start giggling.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Cassie notes that Tom looks like Jake with the intensity turned all the way up.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Bonnie uses "spa appointments" as a euphemism for Yeerk Pool visits.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Cassie mentions that some people want the Hork-Bajir to be legally classed as animals... presumably so they can get away with exploiting them.

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Jake asks the class why the Animorphs won against the Yeerks, most of the students respond with a lot of military jargon... and then the last one says "courage and pluck."
  • Boring, but Practical: Jake says that his most useful morph is the seagull, because it can fly, walk, swim, and be anywhere on Earth without looking conspicuous.
  • Do Not Call Me Sir: Jake doesn't like being called "sir" because all of his titles are honorary, and because he's the youngest person in the room.
  • Evil Will Fail: Tom explains to Jake's class of military cadets that the Yeerk Empire was doomed to fail because its authoritarian power structure caused its subjects to be too afraid to question authority... though the Animorphs running around and breaking things certainly didn't help.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: Discussed. Jake tells his class that contrary to popular belief, it was Visser Seventeen who got Visser One (née Three) to surrender, not the Animorphs.
  • Revenge: Tom muses that part of Essa 412's reason for rebelling was because the Yeerks left him to starve during the events of The Conspiracy.
  • Written by the Winners: Jake points out that the Animorphs' defeat of the Yeerks wasn't as easy as humanity simply triumphing; they mainly won by taking advantage of infighting amongst the Vissers.

    Escape from L.A. 
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Eva pretends she's still infested by Visser One and orders the Controllers in the San Diego Yeerk Pool to fix a non-existent problem as a distraction.
  • Body Horror: When Tom demorphs from his cobra form in the sewers, his human organs burst through his chest.
  • Cassandra Truth: Tom and Eva are aware that the Animorphs won't believe them when they say that they're not Controllers, so they have to hide from them instead.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Tom tries to explain to past-Rachel that he and Eva had ample opportunities to kill the Animorphs over the past few hours, but didn't, in an attempt to prove that they're not controllers. She doesn't listen.
  • Impersonation Gambit: Eva and Tom plan to get back home by pretending that they're still Controllers in order to sneak into a Yeerk Pool, then crash a couple of bug fighters into each other in an attempt to undo the Sario Rip.
  • Impostor-Exposing Test: When Tom reunites with Eva at the church shelter, she makes him drink instant maple and ginger oatmeal to make sure he hasn't been reinfested since she last saw him.
  • It Was There the Whole Time: The presence of several seagulls around them on the boat hints to the reader that Tom and Eva never actually shook the past Animorphs off their scent. They simply decided to watch and learn why Visser One and Essa 412 were working together and so protective of each other, and then learned that they were uninfested future versions of them trying to close a sario rip, and come clean before it happens.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: Eva and Tom are sent two years into the past by a letter bomb explosion that created a sario rip.
  • A Rotten Time to Revert: Tom becomes lost in the sewers while in king cobra morph and begins getting dangerously close to the two-hour limit. He barely has enough time to demorph in a relatively wide part of the sewer, and it's incredibly painful. Amazingly, he survives.
  • Shout-Out: The password to enter the Yeerk Pool under the YMCA is "We're here on behalf of the Village People", the band who made the "YMCA" song.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Tom morphs into Jake, and tries to convince Marco that he really is Jake by sharing anecdotes that Marco doesn't know Tom was around to witness.
  • Super Window Jump: Tom carries Eva and jumps through a fourth-story window in order to escape from the Animorphs. He breaks several bones on impact, but fortunately he has the Healing Factor provided by morphing.
  • We Need a Distraction: Tom and Eva get all of the Controllers to evacuate the San Diego Yeerk Pool by pretending that Visser One is doing a surprise inspection, while Tom sets off an evacuation alarm.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: When they're infiltrating the San Diego Yeerk Pool, Eva calls Tom "Temrash 114", even though he was infested by Essa 412 at the time they're stuck in.

    How I Live Now 
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: A variation where the bypasser is borrowing his own biometrics. Tom needs to hijack the Blade ship (of his own volition this time), and is the only one who can unlock it because Essa used his biometrics as a security override.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Tom wants to jailbreak a touch-activated Yeerk communication device shaped like a bubble. He calls it a cell phone.
  • Common Law Marriage: There's a minor lesbian couple who consider each other wives, but Word of God is that they're not officially married because same-sex marriage wasn't legal in 2001 California.
  • Death by Adaptation: In canon, Efflit 1318 survived to become a herald to The One. Here, he's killed as soon as he exits his host.
  • Death Faked for You: The Animorphs figure out that the Rachel whose body was jettisoned into space wasn't Rachel at all, but rather someone forced to morph into her while another Yeerk infested the real Rachel.
  • Dramatic Irony: Jake and Marco mention the Chee, Erek, Crayak, and the Drode in front of Tom while trying to figure out who would morph into Rachel. Tom has no idea who they are, but they're all major players in canon.
  • Empty Shell:
    • The Yeerk in Rachel claims that she stopped fighting back within two months. It's a lie, of course, evident by how quickly Rachel kills the Yeerk as soon as it exits her body.
    • This trope is later discussed when Tom pretends that he's Essa, and claims he lobotomised his host by shoving a letter opener up his nose until he stopped screaming internally.
  • Face Your Fears: Tom's plan to save Rachel involves Cassie morphing to Yeerk and infesting him so he can pretend to be a Controller. He's squicked out by the whole process, and Cassie accidentally opens so many traumatic memories that he has a panic attack, but it works.
  • First-Episode Twist: The plot revolves around the Animorphs reuniting with Rachel, which comes as a surprise at the end of chapter 1. The fic's original summary didn't mention her at all.
  • First-Name Ultimatum: Eva calls Tom "Thomas" when she needs him to pay attention.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Discussed and Played for Drama. Tom reluctantly explains to the Animorphs that before the Yeerks could set up a cleaner way to keep morph-capable hosts not named Alloran contained, they used to shoot them, break their bones, or dismember them so they could be neutralised long enough for their Yeerks to feed.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Toby joins the Animorphs (and Tom) on their mission to deal with the last human-controllers.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Rachel rips Efflit 1318 in half once it's tricked into leaving her head.
  • I Die Free: Tom is so terrified by the idea that there are still Yeerks infesting people out there that he prepares to shoot himself with a Dracon beam to avoid being taken again.
  • Impersonation Gambit: Tom pretends to be Visser Seventeen in order to convince Efflit to leave Rachel. Cassie morphs a Yeerk and infests him to "prove" that he's still a controller.
  • Impostor-Exposing Test: You can't acquire someone in morph, so Tom tries to acquire "Rachel" to check if it's really her. It works.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Just before Tom can shoot himself with a dracon beam, Eva bursts into his room and forces it out of his hands.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Tom refers to hosts as "it" while explaining how they kept morph-capable hosts contained to the Animorphs, and later when he's pretending to be Visser Seventeen, both to show how little the high-ranking Yeerks care about their hosts' wellbeing.
  • It Will Never Catch On: A Yeerk communication device with a touchscreen and voice-activation is treated as impossibly advanced alien tech. Of course, that's exactly how modern human smartphones work.
  • Kill the Host Body: Tom shoots Rachel to stop her from killing a host.
  • Memory Trigger: Played for Drama. When Tom smells kandrona in the tunnels leading to the ruins of the Yeerk Pool, it brings back awful memories of all the times his Yeerks forced him to swallow it.
  • Mercy Kill Arrangement: Eva promises Tom that if he's ever infested again, she'll shoot him in the head.
  • Not So Invincible After All: Discussed at the end. Eva tells Tom that it's possible to escape infestation and live by reminding him of all the hosts who were freed during the war; Yeerk propaganda had just convinced Tom that death was the only way out.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Tom-as-Essa tells Efflit that he lobotomised Tom, and "proves" it by flopping onto the floor as soon as Yeerk-Cassie leaves his brain.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: When Rachel chastises the Animorphs for drifting apart, she starts to mention how Marco let Jake sleep over at his place when Jake didn't want to deal with "Tom", but interrupts herself when she remembers that Tom is present.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Ax says something in the spoken version of the Andalite language that Marco asks him not to translate in front of his mom.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Rachel is shocked to learn that everyone on Earth thinks she's dead.
  • Running Gag: In chapter 13, the Blade ship's computer responds to everything Tom says, including when he's talking to other characters, which gives him "unknown command" error messages. He keeps yelling at it to shut up.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: This fic reveals that Rachel was alive the whole time; while her canonical death has been referenced multiple times in this series, it was never shown.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: The boys need to get into the Yeerk Pool via an entrance in a TGI Friday's. Jake suggests spraying the kitchen as a skunk, and Marco suggests morphing the president and declaring an emergency... and Tom points out they could just ask to get in.
  • Technology Porn: Tom spends a lot of words admiring how sleek and efficient the Blade ship is. Lampshaded by Rachel, who asks if they want to spend some time alone.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The locals of Santa Barbara are unfazed by two aliens, five human war heroes (one of whom was presumed dead for almost two years), and Tom chartering a bus.
  • Watch It Stoned: At the end, Tom crashes at Bonnie's house and they watch Yellow Submarine. Tom doesn't understand any of it, so Bonnie tells him you're supposed to get high and watch the pretty pictures go by.
  • Wham Episode: Turns out Rachel was alive this whole time, and the Animorphs deal with the last human-Controllers on the Blade ship.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The story begins with Tom trying to jailbreak a Yeerk phone, but after the main plot with Rachel gets going, it's never mentioned again. Justified, as the false alarms it kept giving off were actually real because the Blade ship actually was nearby.