Ms. Has-It-All — Looks-and-Brains
Xena: Warrior Princess
Ms. Peace, Love, and Understanding
Rachel of the Dark Heart
Goddess of War
The Forgotten Animorphs (along with Tobias)
1997 (alternate timeline; resurrected)
2000 (killed by a human-Controller in polar bear morph)
Tom Berenson † (cousin)
Jake Berenson (cousin)
Steve Berenson (uncle)
Jean Berenson (aunt)
Saddler † (cousin)
|Behind the scenes|
|First appearance||The Invasion|
|Last appearance||The Beginning|
|Portrayer||Brooke Nevin (TV series)
Marlee Roberts (2011 re-release cover model)
Melissa Disney (voice, PC game)
Pamela Baumeister (voice, PlayStation game)
- "I'd been protecting her. Them. Jake. Cassie. Tobias. Even Marco and Ax. Helping to protect their innocence. Letting them see themselves as the good guys. It was a symbiotic relationship. Or co-dependent, whatever. They needed me to be the bad guy. And I needed them to be the good guys. See, if they were good guys, and I was on their team, then that automatically made me a good guy, too. Even if I was different. At least that’s what I'd been telling myself. Of course, it wasn't quite that simple."
Rachel was a founding member of the Animorphs and was known for her aggressive, bold and reckless nature. Due to her ruthless demeanor, she was often used by the Animorphs to commit actions such as murder that the other Animorphs could not bring themselves to do. She was the only core Animorph to be permanently killed during the Andalite-Yeerk War.
Rachel was the oldest in her family, being the big sister to her little sisters Jordan and Sara. Her parents were divorced, with her mother, a lawyer, taking care of Rachel and her sisters, while her father worked as a news anchor in another city. Rachel’s hobbies included shopping at the local mall and practicing gymnastics.
Becoming an Animorph
- "I lived in two completely different worlds. One world was filled by my family, school, gymnastics classes, shopping, listening to music, watching TV... normal stuff. But then I had this whole other life. A life where I wasn't just Jordan and Sara's big sister, and my mom's first child, and a teacher's pet, and a gymnastics student who was weak on the balance beam. In my other life I was... a warrior. I risked my life. I fought in deadly nightmare battles against terrible odds. I became so much more than just a kid."
One night, Rachel, along with her best friend Cassie, her cousin Jake, his best friend Marco, and a kid Jake saved a couple of days earlier, Tobias, decided to take a shortcut home from the mall through a construction site.
There, the five of them find a dying alien named Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul and learn all about the Andalite-Yeerk War, including that the Yeerks have already infested a large percentage of humans. To combat the Yeerks, Elfangor gives Rachel and the rest of the teenagers the morphing ability.
Weapon of War
When Jake thought that David, the newest Animorph, had gone rogue and apparently killed Tobias, Jake orders Ax to get Rachel. Rachel then becomes angry at Jake for thinking of her as the person who would be willing to kill another Animorph while also becoming troubled that from all of her battles with the Yeerks, she has changed so much from the person she was prior to meeting Elfangor to the present, where she craves combat and high-adrenaline situations.
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To be added
Leading the Animorphs
During an occasion where Jake was absent on a family trip, the Animorphs were temporarily left without any leadership. When forced to go on a mission involving an Inspector for Visser One, Rachel was chosen as the interim leader. Her plan was to raid multiple known-Controller-operated or-owned businesses in an effort to discredit Visser One. However, Rachel’s actions cause an innocent old man to die of a heart attack and cause Cassie, in polar bear morph, to become captured by the Yeerks. Although Cassie is saved, Rachel realizes that she doesn’t have any leadership skills, despite her warrior abilities.
Crayak and the Drode, who developed a fascination with Rachel during the events of The Exposed and wished to have her kill Jake for them, rescue David from his marooned island and give Rachel reoccurring dreams where she simultaneously respects and hates Jake for being the leader of the Animorphs and ordering him around, and has a nightmare of maiming him to establish dominance. Rachel is pit against David and later Visser One, with Crayak granting Rachel power in exchange for Jake's life. When Rachel refuses, realizing that the world would see her as a monster, Crayak and the Drode make their leave, discarding their interest in Rachel. David then begs Rachel to end his life, citing it to be more humane than leaving him marooned once again. Rachel notices a mirror shard and breaks down in tears, before making her decision. Although the decision is not shown, it is implied that she murdered David.
To be added
- "I guess no one wants to die. I guess everyone is scared when the time comes. We were so close. We were right there, right at the finish line, I'd already survived so many times when I shouldn't have. It seemed unfair. To come this far, get this close... Jake gave me the job because he knew that only I could do it. Would do it. Ax might have, sure, but he was needed for his skills. Me, I'm not the computer genius. I'm the one you send when you need someone to be crazy, to do the hard thing. I don't know whether I'm proud of that or not. I was Jake's insurance policy. He thought maybe he wouldn't have to use me. He hoped, anyway. But down deep he knew, and I knew, and we both hid the truth from the others because Cassie couldn't let Jake make that decision, and Tobias couldn't let me, and those two, by loving us, would have screwed everything up. It was a war, after all. A war we had to win."
During the final battle against the Yeerks, Jake orders Rachel to secretly follow Tom’s Yeerk and kill him when he gives the order. Following him on board the Blade Ship, Rachel attacks the Yeerks in control of the ship and kills Tom, before dying at the hands of a Controller in polar bear morph shortly after; the Ellimist briefly stops time to memorialize her death, tells his own story to her, and she dies.
- "The next day an Andalite scout ship reported finding a human body floating in space. Young, female. The Blade ship had jettisoned her body before going into Zero space. The Andalites brought her to California. Near the devastation that was all that was left of our homes. I was there when Rachel returned. Her mother was there, too. The Andalites treated her body with great respect. She had been wrapped in some sort of soft cloth. I guess it was the Andalite way. They uncovered her face and Rachel's mom and I identified her. Two days later, Rachel's body was cremated. It was inconceivable that she'd ever want to be buried in the ground. She ended up as a few handfuls of ashes in a pretty china urn. Everyone was at the memorial ceremony. By this point our story had swept the planet. Everyone alive knew our names. The memorial had to be held outside. Fortunately it was a nice day. You could see the Pacific Ocean from the spot in the cemetery where Rachel's monument would be placed. There was an honor guard of free Hork-Bajir. Two dozen Andalite warriors stood at attention. Our friend and ally General Doubleday was there and quite a few men and women in uniform. Jake and Marco and me and Ax. We all gave little speeches. The President of the United States was there. He gave a speech, too. I guess Rachel would have liked it, in her own way. She would have laughed. She would have thought it was all way over the top, but at the same time, she would have liked the attention. Would have, but she was a few ounces of ash in a jar resting inside an open wooden box."
After the Yeerk war is officially over, an Andalite scout ship finds Rachel’s body. The Blade Ship had jettisoned her body before going into Zero space. Her body was brought back to California with Rachel’s mom and Jake identifying her. Two days later, Rachel’s body was cremated and her memorial service was attended by dozens of free Hork-Bajir, Andalite Warriors, the Animorphs, and many others. Tobias then arrives and flies away with Rachel’s ashes.
Three years later, Jake, Marco, Tobias, Sergeant Santorelli, Jeanne Gerard, and Menderash-Postill-Fastill board a former Yeerk cruiser and go on a mission to save Ax from an unknown group of pirates aboard the Blade Ship. Menderash, following an Andalite tradition, believes it bad luck to board the ship before it is named; after Tobias notes that it is "beautiful and dangerous and exciting," the group gives it the only fitting name, The Rachel.
- "This is why we fight. And to be honest, I like a good fight. The adrenaline spike of battle. The rush. The challenge. And now that I've admitted that, I'll admit something else: Lately, it's been scaring me that I like it. That I look forward to it so much. [...] I can't help myself. It's like I'm addicted or something. Addicted to danger. Addicted to defeating the Yeerk invaders."
Rachel was the most violent member of the Animorphs. She is Jake's cousin on her father's side, and was in love with Tobias. Before the war, she trained in gymnastics. Marco's nickname for her was Xena, Warrior Princess.
Rachel was the character that changed the most during the war. Before the war, she was characterized by her involvement in gymnastics, her friendship with Melissa Chapman (daughter of Principal Chapman, one of the Animorphs' enemies), and her incurable mall-crawling and shopping addiction. An attractive girl, she was also smart, confident and bold. She was also known to have a temper. After the groups' meeting with Elfangor, her relationship with Melissa faded, and her obsession with the war took the place of her older shopping hobby. Out of all the Animorphs, Rachel was the only one that seemed to enjoy the war, always eager to jump into a crazy mission. Her catchphrase was "Let's do it!" Soon her daring and love of action grew to a dark, almost sadistic love of fighting and aggression.
Rachel's love of violence was noticed, and "exploited" by Jake and the Animorphs, and later, even Crayak. Though her will to battle and sacrifice herself was a powerful asset to the team, it disturbed all of the groups' members, including Rachel herself. In The Separation, Rachel is accidentally split into two different beings, possessing different qualities of Rachel; most easily described as "Mean Rachel" and "Nice Rachel." Her violent side was far stronger than her kinder side, a fact that haunted Rachel throughout the series.
Relationships with the other Animorphs
- "Jake is our leader. I respect him. I don't always agree with his decisions, but he's in charge and I'm not. And that's the way I want it."
Jake and Rachel, as cousins, are arguably two of the most similar Animorphs. They share not only physical resemblance, both being tall, well-built, and possessing natural leadership and strength, but they share many of the same values. Both are very brave, though Rachel's bravery borders more upon rashness, and very self-sacrificing, always considering what is best for the group and for earth itself. They share a value of strength and honor, and both have a strong sense of morality and right and wrong, though Rachel sometimes pushes the border with her habit of violence, something that haunts both her and Jake, on occasion. Jake, being the leader he is, must do what's best for the group, and sometimes he's forced to use this dark side of Rachel to their advantage, and Rachel understands this. They share mutual respect for one another, and, though they sometimes have wild fights and disagreements, like Rachel rebelling under his leadership or Jake unable to deal with Rachel's senseless risk-taking, they are something of a dynamic duo, both in battle and out of it, and never quite lose the kinship between them, even in the hardest of times. Despite not being close at the start of the series, Rachel admits that Jake is one of her few loved ones, and has admitted an attraction to him, which she refuses to pursue since they are cousins. Jake worries about Rachel the most out of all Animorphs, often pondering on Rachel's bloodthirsty and degenerative nature, while the darker side of Rachel's mind wonders on what would happen should she ever challenged Jake's leadership - however, this is a thought process she throws out towards the end of the series after she confronts David and the Crayak along with the darker side to her nature. When Rachel accepts her final mission, which they both knew would be very dangerous, Rachel tells Jake not to be overwrought by his decision, knowing full well the burden under which Jake is placed. Jake is distraught by having had to send Rachel off to kill his Yeerk-infested brother and never recovers.
- "I have strong feelings for Tobias. The kind you can't help. The kind that seem inevitable. Like they were always there, even before you knew the person."
Before the start of the series Rachel and Tobias weren't friends, although they had some prior knowledge of each other. They quickly develop feelings for each other, and eventually begin a relationship and fall in love. Tobias sees the good in her, and worries about her like she's a normal girl, not the fighting machine the others sometimes think of her as. And, while Tobias is no stranger to violence and doesn't shrink from making hard decisions, he has very clear boundaries of right and wrong, and, to some degree, seems to be something of an odd pacifist, refusing to take life when it isn't needed, and showing remarkable pity for his prey and even his enemies. Even as a hawk, Tobias preserves his intrinsic softness, a memento from his human years. This is something so opposed to Rachel's nature that it seems almost to attract her, as though she is drawn to the controlled, nonviolent personality that she can never have.
- "Cassie is my best friend, although we're nothing alike. Cassie is probably the most capable, in-charge, amazing person I will ever meet."
Rachel and Cassie are best friends. However, tension develops between them over the course of the series; Cassie is increasingly wary of Rachel's darkening nature, and Rachel in turn becomes impatient with Cassie's morality. Cassie's integrity and coherence are questioned by the reader when she leaves Rachel to hunt down David by herself, whom she then captures and is thus alone with, helplessly sobbing while deciding on whether she will have to kill a serene and accepting David or not (his fate is never revealed). Rachel feels she is often used as a tool to protect the innocence of the rest of the Animorphs.
- "Marco is Jake's best friend. He's smaller than Jake, funnier, darker, more skeptical. But his suspicious nature makes him very good at seeing beneath the surface of things. And as much as he whines and complains about the dangerous situations we get into, he's still there in the worst of the fight, still making dumb jokes."
Rachel and Marco often argue, though their verbal sparring is good-natured. They are similar in terms of ruthlessness, although Marco is inherently much more calculative and strategic; a side which contrasts with her increasingly reckless nature. He is the least affected by her death, given his philosophy towards life. In Back to Before, a book where an alternate-reality is concocted by the Ellimist and the Crayak, she agrees to date him. Marco, while sharing some of Rachel's coldness and ruthlessness, is in some ways her opposite, his characteristic trait being caution and a somewhat selfish sense of automatic self-preservation, whereas Rachel is completely reckless and very self-sacrificing. However Marco is often the only person who truly understands Rachel's mindset during a group decision, and they tend to often be on the same side of an argument when it comes down to it, as much as they bicker among each other.
Ax and Rachel are similar in many ways, both sharing a militant attitude towards war and combat, both brave, both valuing strength and warrior-like qualities. Ax has been known to observe respect towards Rachel for being such a brave warrior who does not underestimate enemies, but has also been known to be critical of her sometimes overly rash behavior, and is quick to counsel her towards caution. In the beginning, Rachel is initially distrustful of Ax and is in general indifferent towards him. She is quick to criticize him for hiding things from the group or not appearing to be loyal, and for disrespecting humans in general, and can sometimes appear condescending toward the alien. The two rarely, if ever, interact one-on-one. Ax is ruthless and calculative like Marco, but unlike him, Ax is more sensitive and becomes evermore apprehensive of Rachel's bloodthirstiness - something that he considers to be unfit for a warrior and akin to a mental illness.
Televison Show Morphs
|Cat||My Name is Jake, Part 2|
|Fly||On the Run|
|Melissa Chapman's Cat (Fluffer McKitty)||Between Friends|
|Red-tailed Hawk||The Forgotten|
|Mouse||Face Off, Part 1|
|Yeerk||Face Off, Part 2|
|White-headed Capuchin||My Name is Erek|
|Grizzly Bear||Changes, Part 1|
|Gecko||Changes, Part 2|
|Skunk||Changes, Part 3|
Rachel has a total of 14 morphs in the TV show.
Books Narrated By Rachel
- The Visitor
- The Stranger
- The Andalite's Gift
- The Reaction
- The Underground
- In the Time of Dinosaurs
- The Solution
- The Exposed
- Elfangor's Secret
- The Separation
- The Weakness
- Back to Before
- The Journey
- The Return
- The Beginning
- Rachel is allergic to crocodile DNA.
- In the Animorphs TV series, Rachel's battle morph is a lion, opposed to her grizzly bear morph in the books.
- In The Threat, it is stated that Rachel is related to Jake's family through her father. Later in The Conspiracy, Rachel says that Jake's family is related to her family through Jake's dad; making Steve and Dan (Jake and Rachel's fathers, respectively) brothers.
- From the Anibase: Katherine Applegate always admitted to borrowing ideas from other sources, and the split Rachel (in The Separation) idea is no different. Here's what she had to say about the idea, and also about how she was trying to develop Rachel's character: "I'd admit I stole this from the original Star Trek, except, of course, that they stole it from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was really fun to write. And I was advancing my view of Rachel as the 'warrior who comes to need war.'"
|Animorphs||Jake | Rachel | Tobias | Cassie | Marco | Ax | David|
|Auxiliary Animorphs||James | Collette | Timmy | Kelly | Craig | Erica | Julio | Liam | Tricia | Jessie | Judy | Ray|