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:: #1 The Invasion
:: Book Overview

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Narrator: Jake

Cover Morph: Jake to Green Anole Lizard

Release Date: June 1996

Cover Quote: Some people never change. Some do....

Plot Summary: Sometimes weird things happen to people. Ask Jake. He may tell you about the night he and his friends saw the strange light in the sky. He may even tell you about what happened when they realized the "light" was only a plane -- from another planet.

Here's where Jake's story gets a little weird. He and his friends are told the human race is under attack, but they're given the chance to fight back.

Now Jake, Rachel, Cassie, Tobias and Marco have the power to morph into any animal they choose. And they must use that power to outsmart an evil that is greater than anything the world has ever seen...

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:: Sample Chapter

It isn't painful. Morphing, I mean.

I petted Homer for a while, feeling like a complete and total fool. "This is the stupidest thing I have ever done," I told Tobias.

"Look, you have to concentrate. At least, I did. I mean, I formed this mental picture of Dude, right? I thought about becoming him.

"I see. So I have to, like, meditate on becoming a dog."

"That's right. You have to think about it. You have to want it."

Normally I would have figured he was nuts. But I had just seen him turn into a cat. So if he was nuts, so was I.

I thought about becoming Homer. As I stroked his fur I formed a picture in my mind of me becoming Homer. Homer became weirdly quiet while I did it. Like he was asleep, only his eyes were open.

"Just like Dude," Tobias commented. "I think the process kind of puts the animal in a trance or something."

"He's just scared because he thinks his master is a looney tune." I continued stroking Homer's fur and concentrating, and Homer continued to lie very still. "Okay, now what?" I asked Tobias.

"Now we better put Homer outside. He might get slightly freaked by watching you turn into him."

It took Homer about ten seconds to come out of his trance. But then he jumped up, normal, hyperactive Homer again. I put him outside in the yard.

Tobias was sitting patiently when I got back, just waiting. "Give it a try, " he urged me. "Think about it. Want it."

I took a deep breath. I closed my eyes. I recalled the picture of Homer I'd formed in my mind. I thought about becoming Homer.

I opened my eyes. "Bow wow," I said, laughing. "Guess it didn't work for me, Tobias."

The back of my hand itched and I scratched it.

"Jake?" Tobias said.

"What?"

"Look at your hand. "

I looked at my hand. It was covered with orange fur.

I jumped about a foot, straight up in the air. "Ohh! Ohh!" I stared at my hand. The fur had stopped growing.

"Don't be scared," Tobias advised. "Go with it. Now you've stopped the morph. You have to concentrate."

"My hand!" I said. "Fur!"

"Yeah, and your ears . . . " Tobias said.

I ran to the mirror over my dresser. My ears had moved. They had slid up the side of my head, and were definitely larger than they should be.

"Go on, it's so cool!" Tobias said.

"Cool? It's...it's...creepy. It's weird. It's... I mean, look at my hands! I have fur!"

"You have to do this," Tobias said.

"I don't have to do anything," I said sullenly.

Tobias nodded. "Okay, you're right. You don't have to do this. You can just forget what we saw last night. And forget what we know. And as the Yeerks take over more and more people, you can just ignore it. We' can all just go along and grow up in a world where human beings are nothing but bodies to be used by murdering aliens."

Okay, when he put it that way it didn't sound like a great option.

"Come on, " Tobias urged.

I swallowed hard. I closed my eyes. I thought of Homer. Of being Homer.

I felt the itchiness again, and when I opened my eyes, there was fur growing on my arms. And fur growing out of my face. And fur curling up from under my collar. My legs itched and I realized they were growing fur, too.

My bones...well, they didn't exactly hurt, but they did feel very strange. You know when you go to the dentist and he gives you Novocaine so the drill doesn't really hurt, but you know it should hurt? I guess that's what it's like.

My bones shortened. I could feel my backbone stretching as it extended out into a tail. There was a scraping sound as my knees suddenly reversed direction. I toppled forward, no longer able to walk upright.

When my hands hit the floor they weren't exactly hands anymore. The fingers were gone. All that was left were short, stubby nails.

My face bulged out. My eyes drew closer together.

Tobias got up and tilted the mirror down so I could see myself.

I watched the final transformation as the last patches of my pink human flesh disappeared. And the tail - my tail - sprouted to its full length.

I was a dog. It was insane. But just the same. I was a dog.

I knew I should be scared by all this, only I wasn't. I was ecstatic. I was giddy. I was thrilled. Happiness just washed over me. Happiness filled me up.

I breathed in through my ridiculously long nose and wow! Wow! The smells. Oh, man, you have no idea! I breathed in and right away I knew my mom was toasting a waffle in the kitchen. And I knew Tobias had walked through the territory of a big male dog. And I knew things I couldn't even explain in human words. It was like being blind all your life and then suddenly you can see.

I ran over to Tobias and sniffed his shoe. I wanted a better idea of who that big male dog was. From the scent of his urine picked up by Tobias's shoe I got a sort of picture of him. See, Homer knew him. His owners called him Streak. He was neutered, like me. He spent most of his time in his yard, but he broke out sometimes by digging under his fence. He got a mix of canned and dry food. Purina. No table scraps, unlike me.

All this information made me happy all over again, and I had to wag my tail. I looked up at Tobias. He looked tall and strange and not very colorfuI. I wasn't all that interested in looking at stuff. Smelling things was way better.

INTRUDER!

There was a noise in the yard. A dog! An unknown dog in MY yard. An INTRUDER!

I ran to the window and perched against it and cut loose.

"Rrrawf! Rrawf rrawf! rrawfrrawfrrawfrrawf!"

I barked as loud as I could. No WAY some unknown dog was just going to walk through MY yard.

"Jake, get a grip," Tobias said. "That's Homer, out there."

Homer? What? But I was ...

I tucked my tail between my legs. What was going on?

"Jake, listen to me," Tobias said. "It's just what happened to me when I morphed into a cat. The dog brain is part of your brain now. You have to deal with it."

<But...there's a dog in MY yard.>

"That's Homer, Jake. You are Jake. You're just in a body copied from Homer's DNA. That's the real Homer out there. You put him out there. Focus. You are Jake. Jake."

I took several deep breaths. The smells! Oh, boy, there was this one smell I couldn't quite -

Focus, Jake! I ordered myself. Focus!

Slowly I calmed the dog part of my mind.

Let go of the smells. Let go of the sound of a dog out in your yard.

It wasn't easy, that first time. Being a dog is so completely amazing. For one thing, there's nothing halfway about it. You're never sort of happy. You're HAPPY! You're never sort of bummed. You're totally, completely bummed. And boy, when you get hungry in dog form, you are nuts on the subject of food.

There was a knock on my bedroom door. Yes, my bedroom door. I knew who I was again. I was Jake. Jake with four legs, a tail and a snout, but Jake.

The knocking seemed incredibly loud to my dog ears.

"Jake, you got Homer in there with you?" My brother Tom's voice. "Mom's on the phone, stop him yapping --"

He opened the door and stepped in. He looked around, confused.

"Who are you?" he demanded of Tobias.

"I'm Tobias. I'm a friend of Jake's."

"Well, where is he?"

"Oh . . . he's around, " Tobias said.

Tom looked down at me. There was a strange smell about him. My dog brain couldn't quite identify it. It was an unsettling, dangerous smell. And somehow, in my own mind, I heard the echo of a laugh. A very human laugh I had heard the night before as Visser Three swallowed the Andalite whole.

"Bad dog," Tom said to me. "You keep quiet. Bad dog." And then he left.

I was devastated. I wasn't a bad dog. Not really. I was just barking because some other dog was in MY yard. Bad dog? I was a bad dog? No, I wanted to be a good dog. I crept into the corner, utterly miserable.

Tobias knelt down and patted my head.

When he scratched me behind the ears, I felt a little better.

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