||The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia's general notability guideline. (August 2012)|
|First appearance||The Discovery|
|Last appearance||The Return|
|Created by||K. A. Applegate|
|Family||Unnamed father and mother|
David is a fictional character from the sci-fi book series Animorphs, written by K. A. Applegate. His last name is never mentioned. David was introduced in the "David Trilogy", which included the regular-series books #20 The Discovery, #21 The Threat, and #22 The Solution. He appears twice more in the series, in book #48, The Return, and as a hallucination of Jake's in book #41, The Familiar. David never narrates an Animorphs book, in whole or in part.
The Animorphs first encountered David when Marco met him at their school, carrying the morphing cube. Revealing himself to be a new student, he explained to Marco that he had stumbled upon the cube—which had apparently survived the destruction of Prince Elfangor's fighter at the construction site—and thought he could sell it for some quick cash on the internet. The Animorphs attempted to retrieve the device from David's home, sneaking in as birds of prey, but failed; the next day, David was contacted by a potential buyer, who turned out to be Visser Three himself. David made the mistake of e-mailing the Visser his home address, so that they could meet to complete the sale; this led to an enormous battle which erupted inside David's home, as the Animorphs fought to keep the morphing cube out of Visser Three's hands, while protecting David and his father from the Visser's cache of Hork-Bajir warriors. The Animorphs managed to escape from the destroyed house with David, dooming his father and mother to their fates as Controllers. David could never go home or be seen anywhere else; he had the entire Yeerk army looking for him and the Escafil device.
After much debate, not knowing what would become of David, the Animorphs decided to make him the new seventh Animorph. Their leader, Jake, couldn't see himself abandoning David to certain infestation; Cassie was excited at the idea of expanding their forces; Tobias sympathized with David's lack of anybody to turn to, having been in a similar situation himself; and Rachel simply went along with the decision without much consideration. Marco and Ax however, both believed the plan to be a bad idea; Marco did not like or trust David, while Ax did not agree that the benefits outweighed the risks: they did not know David, and were at the time attempting to foil a Yeerk plot to enslave several major world leaders at a local peace summit. 
David was drawn to Cassie's trusting nature, as she showed caring and understanding towards him, but disrespected the unwritten authority that Jake had over the Animorphs. He formed a grudge against Marco and Rachel, feeling that they treated him as the 'new kid', always looking down on him and believing themselves superior. This created tension among the Animorphs and towards David in the middle of one of their most crucial missions.
Unable to handle the loss of his family, and the grave nature of his situation, David determined he could not trust the Animorphs or the Yeerks, and after almost betraying the Animorphs to Visser Three he made his move. Attempting to pick the Animorphs off one by one, he first escaped from the home Cassie had made for him in her barn in his golden eagle morph, and killed a red-tailed hawk he believed to be Tobias, who had been sent by Jake to follow David when they observed his escape. Jake and Ax followed him to his destroyed house, where they were attacked by a squad of Hork-Bajir, and narrowly managed to escape. Jake followed David to the local mall, where he challenged Jake as a lion, wondering whether it could beat Jake's tiger. After a short brawl on the roof, they plummeted through a glass skylight down onto the mall floor, but not before David gravely injured Jake with a bite to the neck. Ax, having been sent by Jake to find Rachel, arrived with her to find Jake bleeding to death on the floor, while David taunted Rachel, explaining his reasoning that his actions did not constitute murder, as he had only killed animals, and not humans (see speciesism), filling her with rage towards Tobias' killer. David, and Rachel and the other Animorphs did not yet know that Tobias was in fact not dead, but still looking for David in the night, unaware of the events that were taking place. 
Rachel and David developed a personal vendetta against each other, with Rachel swearing that she would kill him and his family if he exposed the identity of the Animorphs, an action which had a profound effect on Rachel, who found herself wondering if she herself had developed the same mentality as David in the year since they had been given the morphing power. At several points throughout the trilogy, the realization of the magnitude of her changes drove her to tears and emotion, something unlike her.
Rachel's threat towards David arose from his belief that he could offer either the Animorphs or the morphing cube to Visser Three in exchange for his parents' return, and the promise of the safety of their family, despite the Animorphs' assertion that the Visser would never lose out in a bargain, and would not honor any deal made. At the core, it is possible that David simply wanted to return to the normal life he had been so abruptly torn from, going so far as to assume the life of Jake and Rachel's cousin Saddler, fatally wounded when a car hit his bicycle, and with only days to live (David took on Saddler's appearance after he flatlined, Rachel speculating that he could nip out to the bathroom to dimorph when required and would look enough like Saddler in the dark to pass as him when sleeping).
Despite momentarily considering letting David live out Saddler's life in another city, where he could cause no trouble, the Animorphs realized that David could not be trusted. With the information he possessed, he could easily ruin any chances of human victory against the Yeerks in the name of his own personal self-gain, as he wished to form a gang of morph-capable thieves in the hopes of becoming rich, a tendency he displayed from the moment he began to morph. The Animorphs could not bring themselves to kill him in cold blood, instead deciding that he would live the rest of his life trapped in a White rat morph, a nothlit like Tobias. Unlike Tobias though, there would be no positive sides to his condition. David was tricked by the Animorphs, believing that they were taking him to the place they had hidden the pieces of the Escafil device, at the abandoned construction site. Despite his numerous precautions to make sure he could not be fooled, Tobias' true fate, unknown to him, was what doomed him—the sixth, apparently dead Animorph arrived after David had trapped the other four in cockroach morph inside a Pepsi bottle, and had followed Rachel into an old sewage network where the morphing cube's pieces were allegedly hidden. Tobias released the other Animorphs, allowing them to execute their plan, trapping David within a metal cage they had constructed, which Rachel led him into. They held him for two hours, trapping him in morph, and then carried him to a forsaken, barren island just off the coast, leaving him where he could cause no one any trouble. Surprisingly, the person who devised the plan was the only Animorph he had trusted—Cassie. 
David reappeared in The Return, with the help of Crayak, a being who, like the Ellimist, had the power to alter space and time, giving David an opportunity at revenge against Rachel. Failing to accomplish this, his fate fell once more into Rachel's hands. She could either take him back to the small island, or kill him, as he pleaded her to do.  Rachel's decision, and David's ultimate fate, were never revealed in the series.
Marco's first impression of David was that he was a kid with an attitude. The impression was quite discerning - David's primary character trait throughout his appearances is his fiercely independent nature. He respected the authority of his father, but exhibited no respect or deference towards any other authority figure. He undermined Jake's authority as leader of the Animorphs several times and told Marco he didn't tell him what to do. This independent nature ended up driving a wedge between him and the Animorphs due to the dangers of him acting on his own when they were operating on a war footing.
David was motivated primarily by self-interest, further setting him apart from the other Animorphs. Shortly after becoming an Animorph David suggested using morphing as a means to steal money and valuables, and his ultimate plan was to take back the blue box from the Animorphs and create a gang of morph-capable thieves which he would then lead. This plan highlights David's habit of underestimating others: he never considered the possibility that his new 'subordinates' would betray him as he had the Animorphs and could not come up with a retort when Rachel suggested it, simply stating that he would avoid the Animorphs' 'mistake' at recruiting someone more intelligent than they were. Beneath this selfishness, though, David was driven a deeper desire: the need to reclaim the normal life he lost. He went to extremes to recreate the simulation of a normal life, first breaking into hotels and later impersonating Saddler in order to have something similar to a normal life.
As he became more distrustful of the Animorphs, David revealed a ruthless and arrogant personality. He had some loose scruples - he stated that he would never attack a human being, although this only protected the Animorphs while they were human, leaving him 'free' to attack while they were morphed. He even drew this distinction when talking about himself, arguing that an occasion where he broke into a motel room wasn't a crime because an eagle had broken the window rather than him (though Tobias made this very same distinction about himself a short time earlier, and David may have gotten the notion from him). He was also highly arrogant, dismissing the Animorphs as foolish for focusing on the Yeerks when their powers would allow them to take anything they wanted and repeatedly stating that he was far smarter than any of the Animorphs. This arrogance was used against him Cassie masterminded the plan to trap him as a rat - she anticipated David's need to build his own ego and humiliate Rachel, which allowed her to manipulate his actions.
Interestingly, David could be said to be an amalgamation of all the other Animorphs in personality - he was decisive and instinctive like Jake, reckless and violent like Rachel, predatory and solitary like Tobias, discerning and manipulative like Cassie, and sarcastic and clever like Marco. These personality traits made David not a very viable member of the team, as he did not mesh well with the group's dynamics. They did, however, make him a survivor, and it can be said that he was perhaps the most dangerous enemy the Animorphs ever faced.
Personal life and family
David's only known family is a father who works for the National Security Agency and a mother whose occupation is unknown. David's father exhibits some of his personality traits, rejecting an offer of assistance from the alarm company when his house is broken into (by Marco) and opting to handle it himself instead. David refers to his father as 'a spy' and it is revealed his father brings him back many exotic things from his overseas travels, such as his pet cobra Spawn. Notably, David's father is the only authority figure he respects and cares for, to the point of charging Visser Three head-on (before he was given the morphing power) to save him.
When David's father is taken by the Yeerks, they use his position with the NSA to trace a call made by David (with Marco watching) at a 7-Eleven pay phone. This near confrontation is what convinces David that his parents have been made into Controllers. His parents are not named, and it is never revealed what happens to them after the series, or whether they try to find out what happened to David.
|Golden Eagle||The Discovery|
|Human (Random Human-Controller)|
|Human (Marco)||The Solution|
David tended to favor a more aggressive style of fighting. For example, when he was choosing a bird morph, he chose a golden eagle because it was the largest and most powerful bird that Cassie had available at the clinic, despite the other Animorphs advising him that a smaller bird would be more agile and useful in flight. His main battle morph was a lion, which surpassed Jake's tiger in terms of combat ability and had the additional advantage that the lion's mane protected him from attempts to attack his vulnerable neck.
When David turned against the Animorphs, his morphs came in handy. David first killed a red-tailed hawk (mistaking it for Tobias, when it was really an innocent red-tail) while in golden eagle morph. His lion morph gave him an advantage against Jake's tiger when they battled in the mall. David also morphed an orca to battle the Animorphs; the Animorphs morphed into dolphins to both invade and retreat, and the orca gave David a massive advantage, although Cassie was able to use her old humpback whale morph to drive him off. A rattlesnake gave him the perfect morph to not only spy on the Animorphs, but threaten them while they were in smaller, more vulnerable morphs.
David also morphed other people without their permission, in violation of the Animorphs code of conduct, to ask for permission first. He acquired and morphed Marco and stunned Ax with a baseball bat (while Ax was in harrier morph). He later assumed the identity of Saddler, Jake and Rachel's cousin, and the Animorphs believed that he morphed Saddler because he no longer had a family.
In addition to all of the above morphs, David had the usual transportation and infiltration morphs that the other Animorphs had, such as a cockroach, a seagull, and a flea. He also acquired a random male Human-Controller for one infiltration mission. David was eventually trapped as a rat nothlit.