DID SOMEONE WANT TO TALK ABOUT YEERKS HELLO my working theory of yeerks is that the yeerks bred for the empire are super fucked up by regular yeerk standards. like here's a species that lived in constant contact with itself for ages and ages— it's stated or at least implied that yeerks are the descendants of shipwrecked yoorts. but they made it worked, they had a synergistic relationship with the gedd, they had stories and songs and dances and rituals and culture. they had, by virtue of their physical limitations, very little violence and probably even less murder. how would one yeerk murder another? i think the yeerk to be killed would have to be forced out of the pool and kept out till it dried, or forced to the bottom of the pool until it died of kandrona starvation, or one yeerk would be appointed to go into a host, grab up the condemned yeerk, and crush it. so the expulsion or murder of a yeerk from a pool would have to be a group decision, and then a group action. i can't imagine how one-on-one murder would even have been committed. and then— bam. a few pools of yeerk collude to steal weapons and spacecraft from the visiting andalites. they scoop up their home pools, i believe, and zoom off. these renegades, a couple thousand— a couple hundred thousand?— now have the power to kill one-on-one. point a gun, pull the trigger. shove a comrade out an airlock. pick up a rock or a knife and smash. they now have this incredible capacity for slaughter in a way their mentality, cultural or individual, had never before had to deal with. humans have evolved killing each other one on one, and to various extents we've formalized it, we've got checks and balances. we mostly don't kill family or friends, we mostly kill outgroup members or subordinates we've been conditioned to view as subhuman, and murder is generally an act of extreme emotional duress. we have to be trained to be soldiers. we aim for resolving conflicts peacefully, or at least limiting the damage of violent conflict. horkbajir have an enormous capacity to damage each other, and they're very careful not to. they feel grief and horror when they injure each other accidentally, and they also don't seem to have any social structure or resource shortage that would drive them into stressful enough conflict that they'd want to injure each other. they're cooperative. by the same token, really, andalites are cooperative herbivores with a built-in lethal blade, and their culture has a lot of rituals to re-direct conflict and aggression. they spar, they play games, they have a pretty strict hierarchy, they have a strong concept of respect. honestly the way andalites deflect aggression and group conflict is something i'd love to know more about, since they don't have a sense of humor. maybe if you're all telepathic you don't need a sense of humor the way humans do. BUT OK ANYWAY here's yeerks, with no prior capacity for individual violence, separated from their homeland and the context of their prior culture, and now they can just kill each other and everyone else all they want. they go nuts. they organize clumsily into a military heirarchy and rule each other through top-down violence. like, we're constantly seeing higher-ranked yeerks beating up on, or flat-out executing, their subordinates, without mercy or regret or hesitation. it's hideous: they don't view each other as comrades anymore. they don't have friends. their teammates are temporarily assigned and no one will stick up for anyone else. we don't see yeerks defending one another from harm or punishment, and being betrayed for a promotion is something everyone seems to expect. the yeerks in the empire are living in a dystopian nightmare, knowing nothing but that their lives are to be a brutal and joyless climb up a ladder of domination, and if they fuck up they get kicked off the ladder to die. look at how they invented a peace movement. they learned about peace movements from humans and a significant percentage of this bred-for-war insanely-stressed-out brainwashed-to-conquer population was like 'whoah! hey! yeah! let's do that! we want to be friends with humans, we want to work together'. aftran came around to cassie's way of thinking in, what, a few days? she was so lonely, and scared, and suspicious, and terribly easy to befriend. yeerks can't possibly be meant to live the way the empire yeerks are told to.