|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
- "I mean, we fight because we think the Andalites are coming someday, someday. We've been carrying out a delaying action. Slowing the Yeerks down so it wouldn't be too late by the time the big deal Andalites came along."
"As much as I hate to admit it, Marco's right. The fleet is not coming to the rescue. The Andalites aren't here to help save Earth."
- ―Marco and Rachel
The Arrival, published in January 2000 and written by Kim Morris based on an outline by K.A. Applegate, is the thirty-eighth book in the Animorphs series. It is the seventh book narrated by Ax and the fourth book with Ax as the sole narrator.
Andalites have finally arrived on Earth. The Animorphs and Ax now have allies willing to fight against the Yeerk invasion. But there are only four Andalites. Not nearly enough to defeat thousands of Yeerks. Not enough to stop humans from being infested.
So, everyone agrees that the battle must continue. But the Andalites don't want to fight alongside humans. They feel their skills will be less than adequate. And they demand that Ax choose a side. Will Ax stay with his friends...or stand with his people?
This section needs a rewrite
When the Animorphs see a front-page article about The Sharing in The Chronicle, they attempt to break into the office of the major local newspaper to determine how deeply infiltrated it is by the Yeerks. Mr. King is captured and is about to be destroyed, and the group bursts out of hiding to rescue him. It is soon evident that the situation is a trap set up by Visser Three, and he joins the battle, engaging directly with Ax and the others in Andalite form. As the Animorphs try to run, a small group of new Andalites appear out of the elevator, and turn the tides of the battle. Tobias informs them that the police are coming, and the groups call an uneasy truce and depart to maintain secrecy. Ax, excited to see his own people after so long, is afraid to leave them without knowing how to contact them, but a female Andalite who fought next to him reveals that they know his identity and will find him.
Back at Cassie's barn, Ax is excited that the Andalite fleet has finally arrived, but the others aren't so sure. After a few assertions that Ax is not seeing the situation clearly, in part because of a crush on Estrid-Corill-Darrath (the female Andalite), and a jab from Rachel about where his loyalties lay, Ax leaves the barn in anger after assuring them that he will follow Jake's command. He runs until his anger cools, at which point it is revealed that he is deeply infatuated with Estrid.
Tobias and Ax go to the food court where they discover Estrid in human morph making a scene that attracts mall security. They escape with her because Tobias pretended that Estrid was his sister. They set up a meeting with her superiors. The newcomers are offended that Ax disobeyed their orders by bringing Jake (and the others, they soon find out) to the meeting, and that he is following a human's command. After much in-fighting amongst themselves, the small group of Andalites with an out-of-date ship accidentally reveal that they are the only Andalites in the area, and not fore-runners of the fleet as Ax had assumed. The group has been sent to Earth on a mission to assassinate Visser Three. Ax finds himself (competitively) fighting with the aristh Estrid, whom he beats, but just barely. He admires her skill in tailfighting, but is confused by her lack of military decorum.
The letdown of the further delay of the fleet causes the Animorphs to split up in a dramatic scene at Cassie's barn. Each member leaves for reasons typical of their character, with Jake finally releasing Ax to "try to go home, if [he] can". Ax, once the humans are gone, calls out Estrid, who has been hiding in the barn in rabbit morph, but poorly concealed due to a lack of understanding of the animal's typical behavior. He tells her he will teach her about Earth, and she takes him back to the Andalite ship.
The other members of the ship are Commander Gonrod-Isfall-Sonilli, Intelligence Advisor Arbat-Elivat-Estoni, and the assassin Aloth-Attamil-Gahar. Ax is shown around the ship by Aloth, who reveals that he was in prison for selling organs off of a battle field prior to the current assignment. Aloth, who is deeply cynical about the whole group, reveals that Gonrod, while an excellent pilot, was also in prison for cowardice during battle, and that Arbat has the Andalite War Council wrapped around his finger. There is some ambiguity as to who the real "leader" of the expedition is. It is revealed to Ax that Arbat is the brother of Alloran-Semitur-Corrass, Visser Three's host. The ship, the Ralek River, is an old laboratory ship, whose lab-level has been sealed off to conserve energy. Ax notes the strangeness of the situation and is certain that Estrid is not really an aristh after she audaciously announces that she is going to The Gardens and wants Ax to show her around.
The two fly to The Gardens and explore in Andalite form. Estrid asks Ax about jelly beans, and he kicks some M&Ms out of a vending machine for her to try in human morph in response. The two assume human forms, and they kiss after eating. They agree that it is pleasant (though not as much as chocolate). Ax is clearly smitten. On the flight back, he silently contemplates for a moment the idea of running away with Estrid and leaving behind the difficult shades of gray of his life. He shakes off the reverie, and they return to the ship to plan for the morning's attack on the Visser. Ax later suddenly realizes that Estrid had made a joking reference to plintcorhythmic equations, which are employed in an incredibly complex bioengineering field involving clear thought in n-dimensions, but uneasily writes it off as a figure of speech.
The Andalites (minus Estrid, whom Arbat forces to stay behind) infiltrate the Community Center and make it all the way to the inner sanctum without raising the alarm. Arbat, who has demanded he have the first shot out of pride after Aloth implies that he might not give the order to kill his brother's body, misses an easy shot, even though he has proved himself a competent fighter earlier in the book. A battle ensues, and Ax fails to kill the Visser out of a morality-induced hesitation. Aloth is injured when he breaks concentration for a moment to look for Gonrod, who has fled back to the ship. Arbat kills Aloth under the pretense that he "was too injured to save", which is a lie. Furious and confused, Ax is certain that something very strange is going on.
Ax gets a Chee to help him hack into the ship's computers and gain access to the high-security files concealed by Arbat. All of the members of the Andalite team are officially listed as dead in combat, and Estrid is not on record at all in the military. The ship was listed as destroyed in the same battle. Ax realizes that the ship is on a suicide mission, and that Arbat has something planned that the Andalite War Council does not "officially" know about. Hearing motion on the supposedly empty laboratory level of the ship, Ax confronts Estrid and forces her to talk by threatening to open a vial of some unknown substance of which she is terrified.
Estrid reveals that she was never in the military, but she learned to tail-fight from her famously-skilled brother. She was a young genius and was discovered by Arbat at the university after initially being ignored as a result of her gender. She took up plintconarhythmic physics under his guidance, and she has created a programmable prion virus (the vial that Ax puts down) that will destroy the Yeerks—and very possibly wipe out humans as well. Arbat finds them and traps them, and Ax explains to Estrid that their mission does not officially exist and is not sanctioned by general Andalite society like she was led to believe. Arbat takes the vial of the disease and leaves them. As Estrid apologizes, the Animorphs are revealed to be on board, as their "split-up" was simply a ploy to get Ax in with the Andalites. The Animorphs and a Chee free them, and the group of seven finds evidence of Arbat and follows him to the Yeerk pool in human form, except for Tobias, who stays as a hawk.
Ax spots Arbat's human morph by his Andalite instinct to keep looking around now that he has only two eyes, and he stops him on the pier over the Yeerk pool, prolonging the chaos by yelling that the Hork Bajir are Andalite Bandits in disguise. In the ensuing confusion, the Animorphs begin to attack, and Ax and Estrid move to a hidden spot to demorph. Estrid, terrified and disgusted by the Yeerk pool, refuses to demorph and fight to protect the humans, who are not part of their species. Ax leaves to protect his friends, telling her that she is beautiful and brilliant but he "doesn't think he likes her very much". The battle is bloody and the group is outnumbered, though their backs are covered by human hosts who have linked together into a living shield. Arbat makes it back to the pier, and Ax cannot reach him in time. He is about to drop the vial into the pool when Estrid vaporizes it, along with Arbat's hand, with a Dracon beam. At that moment Gonrod (at Tobias' urging) burns a hole through the roof of the cavernous complex, and rescues the Animorphs with the Andalite ship. Ax leaves Arbat to die at the hands of the Taxxons.
Ax gives Estrid a cinnamon bun as a parting gift, but he refuses to return home with her, citing that his fight is on Earth. The Animorphs and Ax all assume human forms and enjoy their victory. They walk to get food (though not at the McDonald's, as Tobias and Gonrod had destroyed the place to burn into the Yeerk pool). Despite the unawareness of most of the others, Cassie picks up on Ax's pain and holds his hand as the group walks as he cries, invisibly, in the dark.
- Visser Three
- Various Taxxon, Hork-Bajir and human-Controllers
- Samilin-Corrath-Gahar (Mentioned Only)
- Alloran-Semitur-Corrass (Mentioned Only)
- Noorlin-Sirinial-Cooraf (Mentioned Only)
- Forlay-Esgarrouth-Maheen (Mentioned Only)
- Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul (Mentioned Only)
- Eva (Mentioned Only)
- Tom (Mentioned Only)
- Skrit Na (Mentioned Only)
- Andalite War Council (Mentioned Only)
- Ajaht-Litsom-Esth (Mentioned Only)
- Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic
- Mobile Science and Technology Lab Ship
- The Gardens
- The Sharing's Community Center
- Yeerk pool
- Andalite homeworld (Mentioned Only)
- Leera (Mentioned Only)
- University of Advanced Scientific Theory (Mentioned Only)
- Hork-Bajir homeworld (Mentioned Only)
- Dracon beams
- Mobile Science and Technology Lab Ship
- Prion Virus
- Ascalin (Mentioned Only)
- Skrit Na Saucer (Mentioned Only)
- Blade ship (Mentioned Only)
- Bug fighter (Mentioned Only)
- Quantum Virus (Mentioned Only)
- Four Andalites, known as Unit 0, arrive at the Animorphs' hometown, having tracked Ax using his DNA, which was uploaded to the ship from his academy records. Unit 0 comprises of pilot and commander Gonrod-Isfall-Sonilli, intelligence advisor Arbat-Elivat-Estoni, sniper and assassin Aloth-Attamil-Gahar and female aristh Estrid-Corill-Darrath.
- Unit 0 discloses their mission statement – to assassinate Esplin 9466 and his host Alloran-Semitur-Corrass, the latter of whom is Arbat's brother.
- Gonrod reveals that he was debriefed prior to the mission and thus is aware that the Animorphs are humans who are morph-capable, with Arbat aware of Elfangor's involvement, as well as the Animorphs' participation in the battle of Leera, distrusting them due to the fact that all Andalites aboard the Ascalin had died.
- Unit 0 divulges that the Andalites had organized a massive fleet to aid them on Earth after their unexpected victory on Leera but were forced to divert those forces to a secondary war that had begun in another system.
- The Animorphs realize that Earth is not a priority for the Andalite fleet, which they had been hopefully anticipating as a means of much-needed support.
- Since Unit 0 refuse to work with them, the Animorphs stage their disbandment in order to have Ax join Unit 0 and serve as a spy.
- Ax begins to develop romantic feelings and a physical attraction to Estrid.
- Ax shares his first kiss with Estrid.
- Ax begins to suspect Estrid as she does not exhibit proper military decorum, violating traditional aristh regulations and codes of behavior.
- Estrid is revealed to be an estreen with a talent that exceeds Cassie, as she is capable of morphing regular human clothes without practice as well as possessing the ability to instantly morph or demorph within seconds.
- Aloth reveals to Ax that they are all not warriors – he and Gonrod are prisoners who were offer pardons in exchange for the completion of the mission, with Aloth being an organ farmer and dealer and Gonrod branded a coward for fleeing from a mission.
- After Arbat kills Aloth, Ax enlists the help of Mr. King to hack into the Andalite ship's onboard computer, where he discovers that Estrid's name has been wiped from the system and that the ship and the three males have been declared destroyed and dead, thereby revealing that their assignment is a suicide mission that the Andalite War Council either does not wish to claim responsibility for or are unaware of.
- Ax discovers that Estrid is not an aristh but a biochemical student at an Andalite university, and that she has created a prion virus, similar to the quantum virus, which would cripple the Yeerks and mutate their human hosts. Upon discovering that Arbat is planning to kill her post-mission, Estrid defects while Arbat imprisons Ax and Estrid and flees with the virus, intent on releasing it directly into the Yeerk pool.
- The Animorphs free Ax and Estrid and, with the exception of Tobias, head to the Yeerk pool to prevent Arbat from dispersing the virus. At the Yeerk pool, Estrid manages to disintegrate the virus along with Arbat's hand, leaving him to be eaten alive by Taxxons. However, Estrid's remark that humans would be a worthy price to pay and her refusal to save them or any species causes Ax to inform her that while he does find her intelligent and beautiful, he does not like her as an individual.
- Tobias enlists Gonrod's help, who uses the ship to destroy a McDonalds and burrow into the Yeerk pool to rescue the Animorphs.
- Estrid and Gonrod depart from Earth to return to the Andalite homeworld.
|Morpher||Morphs Acquired||Morphs Used|
|Jake||--||Cockroach, Siberian Tiger, Wolf, Peregrine Falcon|
|Rachel||--||Cockroach, Grizzly Bear, Housefly, Bald Eagle|
|Tobias||--||Human (himself), Flea (possibly), Housefly (possibly), Cockroach (possibly)|
|Marco||--||Cockroach, Silverback Gorilla (Big Jim), King Cobra (Spawn), Osprey|
|Cassie||Pit Viper||Cockroach, Wolf, Pit Viper, Great Horned Owl, Flea, Osprey|
|Ax||--||Cockroach, Northern Harrier, Human (Main)|
|Visser Three||--||Human (Main), Unnamed Small Creature|
|Estrid-Corill-Darrath||Human, Rabbit, Crow||Kafit bird, Human, Rabbit, Crow|
|Arbat-Elivat-Estoni||Grackle, Human||Grackle, Human|
- The cover quote is, "Andalites have reached Earth. Will Ax leave the Animorphs?"
- The inside cover quote is, "Now - or never?"
- This is the eleventh book to feature a cover morph that was not acquired in the book. Ax acquired his northern harrier morph in the fifth book, The Predator.
- Ax mentions his transmission to the Andalite homeworld and the time he had failed to kill Alloran-Semitur-Corrass after poisoning him (The Alien).
- ANIBASE: Orson Watch: Take a look at the license plate of the VW Bug on this book's inner cover. The personalized plate reads -- you guessed it -- ORSON.
- Estrid tells Ax that the MSTL-37 is designated as Crusader, but the ship is later referred to as Ralek River.
- The Animorphs and Estrid are able to enter the Yeerk pool through the entrance at The Sharing's Community Center, which, despite having been attacked by the 'Andalite bandits' three times already, does not have any security measures at the entrance, namely Gleet Bio-Filters, which serve to deter and eliminate unauthorized life forms.