Seerowpedia

This wiki DOES NOT use SPOILER WARNINGS OR TAGS since the series concluded in 2001. If you are experiencing the series for the first time and do not wish to be spoiled, you are browsing at your own risk.

READ MORE

Seerowpedia
Advertisement

"I know this sounds crazy, but... but it's like someone is sending out a distress signal. Like they are calling for help."
"Only this someone is in the water, or under the water, or something. [...] It's an Andalite. That's who is calling to us from the sea."
Tobias and Cassie to the other Animorphs[src]

The Message, published in October 1996 and written by K.A. Applegate and Michael Grant, is the fourth book in the Animorphs series. It is the first book narrated by Cassie.

Synopsis

It all started with the dreams. But Cassie didn't pay much attention to them. She and her friends had all been having weird dreams ever since they'd first learned to morph. Maybe it was just some crazy side effect.

Then Cassie discovered that she and Tobias had been having the exact same dreams. Dreams about the ocean. And a strange feeling that someone is calling to them. Calling for help. Cassie, Tobias, Jake, Rachel, and Marco have to figure out if the dreams are a message -- or a trap. And if it is a trap, it could mean the end -- for everyone...

It all started with the dreams. But Cassie didn't pay much attention to them. She and her friends had all been having weird dreams ever since they'd first learned to morph. Maybe it was just some crazy side effect.

That's when Cassie discovers that Tobias has been having the same exact dreams. Dreams about the ocean. And a strange feeling that someone is calling to them. Calling for help.

Now Cassie, Tobias, Jake, Rachel, and Marco have to figure out if the dreams are a message — or a trap. And if it is a trap, it could mean the end — for everyone.

It all started with the dreams. But Cassie didn't pay much attention to them. She and her friends have been having nightmares ever since they acquired the power to morph. But when Cassie discovers that Tobias has been having dreams, too—the exact same dreams—about the ocean and a voice that's calling to them for help, she decides it's time to start listening. Now she and the others have to figure out if the dreams are a message...or a trap.

Plot

Around midnight, Cassie goes to her barn and acquires Magilla, a gray squirrel. As a few of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic's birds have been eaten by an unknown animal, Cassie morphs into the squirrel to try and find out what kind of animal it is and how it is entering the barn. However, she is overwhelmed by the squirrel instincts as a red-tailed hawk flies into the barn's open rafters. The hawk, who is Tobias, attempts to swoop down and eat the squirrel; however, he cancels his maneuver when he is startled by the barn animals making loud noises. A fox, who enters through a loose panel, begins to chase Cassie. She is able to reassert her human consciousness and yells at Tobias to help her, who then flies down and slashes at the fox, prompting it to run away. Tobias asks Cassie why she's turning into a squirrel at midnight and how he almost ate her, and she explains her reasoning as she demorphs. Just then, Cassie's father walks in, having been alerted by the animals' noises and asks what she is doing at the barn at midnight. She tells him that she couldn't sleep and he tells her to return before heading back to the house. Cassie then tells Tobias that she had been having weird dreams about a voice calling to her, and Tobias follows up by stating that the voice is coming from the ocean. The pair then realize they've been having shared dreams.

After school, the Animorphs meet up at Rachel's house where Cassie and Tobias notify the others of their dream. Jake then plays a videocassette containing the late night news he had taped, which shows a news segment of a metal fragment that had washed up on the beach. Jake tells the others that the writing on the metal fragment looks very much like the handwriting he had seen inside Elfangor's fighter and that he believes the fragment is part of an Andalite ship. Just then, Cassie and Tobias fall unconscious and experience a vision, and the duo realize that the voice under the ocean is an Andalite who is sending a thought-speak distress signal. The Animorphs, Marco included, decide to rescue the Andalite. The five of them then head to the beach as nighttime sets in, believing that being near the ocean may trigger another vision. However, a group of Controllers on the beach notice their footprints and begin shooting at them, prompting the four human Animorphs to run into the ocean and morph into trout. Iniss 226 and Tom's Yeerk, the senior Controllers leading the party, notice the human footprints leading into the ocean and how there are no humans in the water; in addition, they also find clothing floating by the shore. "Tom" then wonders if Visser Three might be wrong and that the Andalite bandits are actually human, althougn Iniss 226 replies that he isn't foolish enough to try and inform the Visser of that. The four morph-capable Animorphs are able to swim to another shore and safely demorph before returning home.

The Message Illustration

Cassie in the ocean in her dolphin morph

The team returns to their normal life for two days before committing to a rescue operation. Needing aquatic morphs to traverse the ocean, the Animorphs visit The Gardens on Thursday after school, where they acquire bottlenose dolphins. The next day, on Friday, the Animorphs travel to a river estuary where they morph into the dolphins and make their way into the open sea. Using echolocation, they notice a humpback whale being attacked by a group of tiger sharks. The four morphed Animorphs attack the sharks and drive them away, although Marco is nearly bitten in half. Cassie realizes that since morphing is based on DNA, his injuries will disappear once he demorphs and remorphs. Marco then demorphs and the humpback whale, dubbed the great one, lifts Marco to the surface and allows him to recover on his back. The great one then telepathically communicates with Cassie and notifies her where the Andalite is located.

On Saturday, Cassie goes to visit Marco at his apartment and apologizes for nearly getting him killed, although he replies that he nearly got killed on every mission they'd been to before and that, as much as he doesn't want to die, bad things happen and that she needed to get over it. Marco also mentions that the news reported that multiple divers are conducting operations in the ocean, which he believes are Controllers. Hours later, the Animorphs meet up at Rachel's house. Having gone through some maps, they realize the Andalite's location is too far for a dolphin to reach within two hours, and so the group decide to morph seagulls and land on a container ship in order to hitch a ride further out into the ocean.

Animorphs find Dome ship

The Animorphs find the Dome ship

The next day, on Sunday, the Animorphs head to the clinic and acquire some of the seagulls kept there as patients and fly out of the barn. They travel to the beach and fly out across the water until they locate a container ship called the Newmar. As the others land on the ship and demorph, Tobias informs them that he cannot stay and must return to land. The four Animorphs hide on the deck for an hour before jumping off the ship and into the ocean, where they assume their dolphin morphs once more. They dive down to the ocean floor and progress further, where they locate a Dome ship. Using a hatch, the four enter through an airlock that drains the water and they demorph. As they enter the ship, all four of them are knocked out by an Andalite.

When they regain consciousness, the Animorphs inform the Andalite that they had come to save him; the Andalite is stunned that humans had heard his distress call and are aware of Andalites, and they inform him that an Andalite named Elfangor had informed them of the truth and had given them the power to morph before he was killed by Visser Three. This news upsets the Andalite, who reveals that he is Elfangor's younger brother and that he is an adolescent. The Andalite, named Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill and nicknamed "Ax" by Marco, offers to fight alongside the Animorphs and asks who their Prince is; when the others look at Jake, Ax proclaims him as "Prince Jake" and pledges his loyalty. Ax then gives them a tour of the Dome ship and reveals that the Yeerk Empire have a pattern of rendering every world they colonize into a barren landscape, where they kill every plant and animal species not vital to sustaining the local host population, which horrifies Cassie.

Just then, the Blade ship locates the Dome ship and begins to use sonar pings. As they drop depth charges, the Animorphs and Ax escape from the Dome ship before the explosives destroy the glass dome, which the four Animorphs returning to their dolphin forms while Ax morphs into a tiger shark that he had acquired during his confinement. The five of them then swim away and engage in a quick fight with Taxxons that were dispatched to deal with them. Visser Three then lands in the water, having morphed into an aquatic creature called the mardrut, and chases them. Before he can catch up to the Animorphs, Cassie sends out a telepathic cry of help to the great one, who shows up with a small group of sperm whales and attack the Visser relentlessly, who is then forced to retreat. The Animorphs then demorph and the humpback whale ferries them all on his back towards land.

Upon coming close to shore, the Animorphs and Ax disembark from the whale and assume their aquatic morphs so that they can return to the estuary. As they demorph and the humans begin to get dressed with some outer clothing that they had hidden there, Tobias lands on a branch and is stunned that they succeeded as Cassie introduces Tobias and Ax to each other. The Animorphs then wonder what to do with Ax, and Cassie offers to hide him on her farm land, as the acres of meadows, forests and woods would allow him to run and also stay out of sight. When the group wonder how to get Ax to the farm, Ax acquires all four of the human Animorphs and blends their DNA strands into one unique strand, fashioning a custom human morph based on all four of their DNA patterns. Ax reveals that his human morph is biologically male, prompting Jake and Marco to dress him with some extra clothing while Rachel and Cassie look away, after which the children walk him to Cassie's farm.

A few days later, Cassie returns to her barn late at night once more, where she morphs into a seagull and flies to The Gardens. Landing next to the dolphins, she demorphs and slowly enters the dolphin tank, where she morphs into a dolphin and spends time playing with the captive dolphins.

Appearances

Protagonists:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

Locations:

Organizations:

Mentioned:

Items:

Major/Highlighted Events

  • Tobias, Cassie and Visser Three receive visions of an Andalite trapped under the ocean calling for help. The four morph-capable Animorphs acquire and morph into bottlenose dolphins and successfully rescue the Andalite, who reveals he is Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill, the younger brother of Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul.
  • Aximili, or Ax for short, reveals that the Yeerk Empire are not just planning to infest the humans on Earth but also intend to eliminate most of the plant and animal life as they render the planet barren, akin to the Yeerk homeworld.
    • This gives Cassie her personal reason to fighting in the war.
  • The other Animorphs all consider Jake to be their leader at this point, which leads to Ax dubbing him as "Prince Jake".
  • Ax informs the Animorphs that it may take two years before Andalite forces arrive on Earth; this causes the Animorphs to realize that they will have to keep fighting the Yeerks by themselves.
  • Ax decides to fight alongside the Animorphs in their fight.
  • Ax acquires Jake, Rachel, Cassie and Marco and blends their DNA into one strand in order to create a unique human morph.
  • Temrash 114 (Tom's Yeerk) suspects that the "Andalite bandits" may actually be human when they find human footsteps on the beach leading into the water despite no humans being in the water. Iniss 226 (Chapman's Yeerk) acknowledges that it may not be a mere coincidence but that it would be idiotic to prove Visser Three's beliefs wrong.
    • Additionally, both Temrash and Iniss had been heavily pursuing human children in The Invasion, after human kids were spotted running from the abandoned construction site having witnessed Elfangor's demise, with "Tom" even suspecting Jake. However, this line of investigation is not pursued further.
  • It is revealed that injuries are healed by morphing/demorphing as they do not affect DNA.
  • Cassie is revealed to reciprocate Jake's romantic feelings. When they both believe they are going to die, Cassie attempts to confess to Jake, who then interrupts and informs her that he feels the same.

Morphs

Morpher Morphs acquired Morphs used
Jake Bottlenose Dolphin, Seagull Trout, Bottlenose Dolphin, Seagull
Rachel Bottlenose Dolphin, Seagull Trout, Bottlenose Dolphin, Seagull
Cassie Squirrel (Magilla), Bottlenose Dolphin (Monica), Seagull Squirrel (Magilla), Trout, Bottlenose Dolphin (Monica), Seagull
Marco Bottlenose Dolphin, Seagull Trout, Bottlenose Dolphin, Seagull
Ax Tiger Shark, Human (Cassie), Human (Marco), Human (Rachel), Human (Jake) Tiger Shark, Human (blending Cassie, Marco, Rachel, and Jake's DNA into one strand)
Visser Three -- Mardrut

Trivia

  • The cover quote is, "Sometimes you have to change a little more than your mind...."
  • The inside front cover quote is, "Cassie's acting a little fishy...."
  • This book marks the first time an Animorph is acquired.
  • This is the first of many instances in the series where the Animorphs travel to another location on Earth outside of the vicinity of their hometown, in this case hitching a ride on a ship and venturing out into the ocean to rescue Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill.
  • The six dolphins from The Gardens (Joey, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Rachel) are named after the main characters on the TV show Friends.
  • Originally, Ax was supposed to be introduced in the second book . But once it became clearer that this was going to be a long-running series, K.A. decided to delay his entrance into the world of Animorphs.
  • Cassie refers to her height as being average in this book, despite being referred to as "short" by Jake in the first book. While one might initially assume this is because Jake considers those shorter than him as being short, future books, including those narrated by Cassie, do specify that Cassie is short for her age.
  • When the Animorphs travel to The Gardens specifically to acquire dolphin morphs, Cassie remarks that Marco doesn't have much money to afford the admission. With this issue in mind, it would seem more prudent that the Animorphs acquire as many animals as they can per visit; in fact, Rachel spotted the dolphin tank during their trip to The Gardens in The Invasion, only for Cassie to convince them that they would never find a use for dolphin morphs.
  • Cassie refers to her barn as both the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
  • Promotional Tie-In: This book featured a contest for Animorphs fans (as seen on the U.S Cover) where they were asked to send in their responses on what type of animal they wished they could morph into and why. From the answers, three winners would be picked who would then be morphed into the animal of their choice and published within future books. The entries were picked on October 1996, December 1996 and February 1997. The pictures of the winners morphing their chosen animals at featured on the back of books for #10, #12 and Megamorphs #1.
  • One of the Animorphs Jigsaw Puzzles depicts a scene from this book where the Animorphs in dolphin morph discover Ax inside the dome of a dome ship on the ocean floor.

Goofs/Inconsistencies

  • In the previous book, Tobias mentions that the two wolves at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic were there because one had been shot while the other had been poisoned; however, in this book, Cassie remarks that both wolves were poisoned. This is fixed in the reprint.
  • The book states that "Don't think there are no crocodiles just because the waters is calm" is a Malayan proverb, although it is an African proverb.
  • Tobias mentions that his vision at night is no better than a human's. In reality, a red-tailed hawk has much worse vision at night.
  • Cassie mentions that she had seen Rachel morph into her African elephant before. However, at this point, Rachel has only morphed the elephant twice, and both times it was out of Cassie's vicinity.
  • Cassie refers to her and the other Animorphs in dolphin morph as well as a group of wild dolphins as being a "school." The term 'school' applies to fish; dolphins are mammals, and a group of them are called a pod.
  • When attacking the group of tiger sharks, Cassie rams into one of the shark's gills, causing a stream of blood to billow from it. Marco is then attacked by a shark and is bitten nearly in half, causing copious amounts of blood to billow from his wound. The sharks attacking Cassie, Rachel and Jake then stop attacking the Animorphs in order to attack and eat the wounded shark, with an explanation given that they are unable to resist the smell of blood. However, Marco, who is bleeding much more profusely, is left unharmed; the same blood-crazed shark that bit him in half and caused him to bleed excessively somehow didn't finish him off and instead left him to go after one of his fellow sharks that was not only slightly bleeding, but was already being attacked by two other sharks.
    • While he is wounded, the Animorphs tell Marco to demorph, although Marco is worried that he will drown as a human. Upon demorphing, he verbally speaks to the others right before the book describes him being brought up to the surface. Marco would obviously be unable to speak out loud when he is underwater. This is rectified in the graphic novel.
  • The ship the Animorphs are on is headed to Singapore going 18-miles/hour south. As the later books reveal that the series is set on the coast of California, the ship should have been heading southwest.
  • Ax's full name is written as Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthil. Although this is the first book to introduce Ax, future books spell his very last name as "Isthill." This makes the "Isthil" spelling an inconsistency, and is fixed in the reprint.
  • Cassie recalls that Elfangor had told them his name before he had died. This is incorrect, as he had never introduced himself. The Animorphs heard Elfangor's name for the first time when Visser Three arrived and addressed Elfangor by name.
  • Cassie states that sperm whales are sixty-five tons. Adult male sperm whales reach forty-five tons at maximum; this is fixed in the reprint, which instead has Cassie stating that they are forty-five tons.
  • Ax tells the other Animorphs that Hork-Bajir are incapable of swimming; however, in The Change, Jara Hamee reveals that they can swim.
  • The Animorphs conduct their rescue mission on Sunday, flying out of the barn in seagull morph where they leave their outer clothing behind and then returning to a river estuary, where they then start getting dressed. However, a little earlier on, Jake revealed that returning to the estuary was not the original escape plan, thus leaving it a mystery as to why they have their clothing available at the riverbank. They had been to the estuary two days earlier, but whatever clothes they had left there were reobtained when they had returned following the shark incident, and no indication was ever made that they had hidden extra clothes there for a future visit.
  • When Ax decides to acquire the four human Animorphs, he does not share this idea with the others; instead, he puts his hand on Cassie's face and says "With your permission." However, before Cassie can realize what he is doing and can even give permisison, he begins to acquire her. The others realize he is acquiring her before Ax starts to acquire them without asking for their consent. However, the rest of the series continues to treat it as if Ax had received everyone's consent before acquiring them.

2011 Relaunch Differences

Original Edition 2011 Relaunch
In another part of the barn we have bigger cages for the badgers and opossums and skunks and deer and even a pair of wolves who'd been poisoned. At the other end (far from the wolves) we keep our own horses. In another part of the barn we have bigger cages for the badgers and opossums and skunks and deer and even a pair of wolves—one who'd been poisoned, and one who'd been shot. At the other end (far from the wolves) we keep our own horses.
"No, I haven't had any weird dreams about the sea," Marco said. "I've had weird dreams about my sheets trying to strangle me. I've had weird dreams about falling from way up high and when I finally land I'm in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood talking to King Friday. I've had weird dreams about that woman on Baywatch... hmm, well, that does kind of involve the ocean, I guess."

"You have dreams about King Friday?" Rachel asked him. She put on a worried look. "I see." She shook her head slowly and made a tsk, tsk sound.
"What? What's the matter with dreaming about King Friday?" Marco demanded.

"No, I haven't had any weird dreams about the sea," Marco said. "I've had weird dreams about my sheets trying to strangle me. I've had weird dreams about falling from way up high and when I finally land I'm in Sesame Street talking to Elmo. I've had weird dreams about that woman who lifeguards at the beach... hmm, well, that does kind of involve the ocean, I guess."

"You have dreams about Elmo?" Rachel asked him. She put on a worried look. "I see." She shook her head slowly and made a tsk, tsk sound.
"What? What's the matter with dreaming about Elmo?" Marco demanded.

"Rachel," Jake interrupted, "I think I have something that may be interesting." He pulled a videocassette out of his bag.

"Cool. Let's watch a movie," Marco said.
"Not a movie," Jake said. "I guess no one else watched the late news last night?"
"I was busy watching my taped reruns of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," Marco said, giving Rachel a sly look. "Last night it was the one where it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood."
Jake rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, the way he'd done a million times before when Marco said something irrelevant or annoying. "Rachel, can we go downstairs and use your VCR?"

"Rachel," Jake interrupted, "I think I have something that may be interesting." He pulled a videocassette out of his bag.

"Cool. A piece of prehistoric technology," Marco said.
"Not everybody has DVR," Jake said. "I guess no one else watched the late news last night?"
"I was busy watching my reruns of Sesame Street," Marco said, giving Rachel a sly look. "Last night it was the one where it was a sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away."
Jake rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, the way he'd done a million times before when Marco said something irrelevant or annoying. "Rachel, can we go downstairs and use your mom's old VCR?"

"Maybe we could try calling the Psychic Friends," Marco suggested. "Hi, is this Psychic Friends? I've been dreaming about aliens lately—" "Maybe we could try calling a psychic hotline," Marco suggested. "Hi, is this Madame Zora? I've been dreaming about aliens lately—"
I did some homework on the bus (math, gag, yuck!) and listened to my Walkman. I did some homework on the bus (math, gag, yuck!) and listened to music.
Fortunately, one thing we always have plenty of in the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (also known as my barn) is seagulls. Fortunately, one thing we always have plenty of in the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic (also known as my barn) is seagulls.
<Look over there. Is that a Jujubee?> <Look over there. Is that a Jujube?>
<I am Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthil.> <I am Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill.>
"Didn't you ever see The Hunt for Red October? Great movie. Now let's leave. They've found us!" "Didn't you ever see The Hunt for Red October? Great old movie. Now let's leave. They've found us!"
The two big males who had struck first had heads like sledgehammers. Sperm whales. Sixty feet long. Sixty-five tons. The weight of fifty cars. The two big males who had struck first had heads like sledgehammers. Sperm whales. Sixty feet long. Forty-five tons. The weight of twenty cars.
  • In the original 1996 edition, Marco mentions that he has dreams involving Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and its mascot, King Friday, as well as a woman on Baywatch. In the 2011 reprint, it is changed to Sesame Street, with Elmo replacing King Friday's mention, while "woman on Baywatch" is changed to "woman who lifeguards at the beach".
  • In the original 1996 edition, Jake pulls a VHS tape out of his bag, with Marco citing "Cool. Let's watch a movie." Jake then replies "Not a movie."; in the 2011 reprint, after Jake pulls the VHS tape out, Marco states "Cool. A piece of prehistoric technology" with Jake's reply being changed to "Not everybody has DVR."
    • Additionally, Marco tells Rachel that "I was busy watching my taped reruns of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Last night it was the one where it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood" while Jake asks her if they can go downstairs and use her VCR. In the reprint, Marco instead says "I was busy watching reruns of Sesame Street. Last night it was the one where it was a sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away" while Jake asks Rachel if they can go downstairs and "use [her] mom's old VCR."
  • Marco's comment about calling Psychic Friends is changed to "psychic hotline" and "Madame Zora" respectively.
  • In the original edition, Cassie mentions listening to her Walkman. The reprint removes the Walkman mention and instead just states that she is "listening to music."
  • In the original 1996 edition, Marco mentions The Hunt for Red October (1990) as a "great movie"; the 2011 reprint modifies this to "great old movie".
  • In the original edition, Cassie states that sperm whales are sixty-five tons and have the weight of fifty cars. Adult male sperm whales only reach forty-five tons at maximum; as a result, the reprint fixes this and states that they are forty-five tons and have the weight of twenty cars.
  • The original edition uses the spelling "saltwater" while the 2011 reprint spells it as "salt water".

TV Adaptation

Main Article: The Message (episode)

The events of this book were loosely adapted in the episode The Message.

Gallery

U.S. Images

International Covers

Japanese Illustrations

Re-release Images

Books
Main Series #1 The Invasion | #2 The Visitor | #3 The Encounter | #4 The Message | #5 The Predator | #6 The Capture | #7 The Stranger | #8 The Alien | #9 The Secret | #10 The Android | #11 The Forgotten | #12 The Reaction | #13 The Change | #14 The Unknown | #15 The Escape | #16 The Warning | #17 The Underground | #18 The Decision | #19 The Departure | #20 The Discovery | #21 The Threat | #22 The Solution | #23 The Pretender | #24 The Suspicion | #25 The Extreme | #26 The Attack | #27 The Exposed | #28 The Experiment | #29 The Sickness | #30 The Reunion | #31 The Conspiracy | #32 The Separation | #33 The Illusion | #34 The Prophecy | #35 The Proposal | #36 The Mutation | #37 The Weakness | #38 The Arrival | #39 The Hidden | #40 The Other | #41 The Familiar | #42 The Journey | #43 The Test | #44 The Unexpected | #45 The Revelation | #46 The Deception | #47 The Resistance | #48 The Return | #49 The Diversion | #50 The Ultimate | #51 The Absolute | #52 The Sacrifice | #53 The Answer | #54 The Beginning
Megamorphs The Andalite's Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor's Secret | Back to Before
Chronicles The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | VISSER | The Ellimist Chronicles
Alternamorphs The First Journey | The Next Passage
TV Tie-Ins Meet the Stars of Animorphs
Graphic Novels #1 The Invasion | #2 The Visitor | #3 The Encounter | #4 The Message | #5 The Predator | #6 The Capture
Advertisement