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:: #8 The Alien
:: Book Overview

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Narrator: Ax

Cover Morph: Ax to Human

Release Date: June 1997

Cover Quote: He's only human. When he wants to be...

Plot Summary: What would you do if you were the only alien trapped on a strange planet? Probably freak out, right? But as an Andalite warrior-cadet, Ax has to be pretty cool about stuff like that. He's been hanging with the Animorphs ever since the Dome ship was destroyed by the Yeerks and his brother, Prince Elfangor, was destroyed by Visser Three.

Life on Earth is pretty different for Ax. But there is one thing he, Cassie, Marco, Jake, Rachel, and Tobias have in common. Something that one alien, four kids, and a hawk know they have to do: stop the Yeerks….

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:: Sample Chapter

A human has only two eyes. Both are on the front of the face. It is the same with most Earth species. These human eyes are very similar to our own main eyes. But humans seem fascinated by my stalk eyes. One of the humans, Marco, has said they "creep him out big time." I believe this is a compliment.
- From the Earth Diary of Aximilli-Esgarrouth-Isthil

"Here it is," Cassie said. "School. Or, as I like to think of it - purgatory."

The school was very active. There were large numbers of humans racing about at high speed. Others moved very slowly and seemed sad or ill. Many carried books. Most made mouth-sounds.

As usual they were dressed in a shocking variety of clothing. Clothing is not a uniquely human idea, but of course Andalites do not indulge in it.

However, when I am in human morph I must wear clothing. All of my human friends, even Tobias, agree on this. They agree very strongly on this one point.

I saw Rachel and Marco approaching through the crowd of humans.

My other human friends tell me that Rachel is beautiful and Marco is cute. As an Andalite, I don't observe either trait. However, when I am in human morph I begin to see that Rachel actually is very beautiful.

But I never see that Marco is cute.

At school, the Animorphs must pretend not to be very close. This is so any suspicious human-Controllers will not begin to think of them as a "group."

"Hi, Marco, Rachel," Prince Jake said. "Meet my cousin ... Phillip."

"Yes. I am Prince Jake's cousin, Phillip," I said. "I am from out of state."

Marco made a smile with his mouth. "You're from way, way out of state."

"Don't call me 'prince,"' Prince Jake hissed.

"Nice to see you again, Phillip," Rachel said and winked. Since she was really my cousin, she would have already met "Phillip." "See you guys later. Good luck."

"You'll need it," Marco added.

We went inside the school building. It seemed to be nothing but a very long corridor. It was filled with humans. Along each side of the corridor there were doors. Some of the doors were large. But there were hundreds of much smaller doors. I observed people opening the small doors, but no one ever went inside.

"Where do the small doors lead?" I asked.

"Nowhere. Those are lockers," Cassie said. "Everyone has a locker. See? There's my locker right there."

We went to Cassie's locker. It was decorated with a shiny pendant. The pendant had a wheel with numbers on it. Cassie spun the wheel back and forth.

"Is that a ritual?" I asked. "Chew-ull. Ritual."

"No, that's a lock. It keeps people out."

"Why?"

"So they won't steal my stuff." She opened her locker and began putting things in and taking things out.

"What is that?" I asked. "Thuh-at. That."

"It's just a picture," Cassie said. She quickly closed the door of her locker.

"It looked like a picture of Prin ... of Jake," I pointed out. "Why would you have a picture of him when he is right here and you can see him?"

Cassie shrugged and looked down at the ground. Humans have many facial expressions. I believe this one indicated either sickness or embarrassment.

"Come on, Ax," Prince Jake said. He was smiling at Cassie and she was continuing to look sick or embarrassed. "We'll see you later, Cassie. Time for first -"

Just then, a terrible, mind-shattering sound!

"Bbbbbrrrrrrriiiiinnnnngggg!"

I spun around. I raised my human arms, ready to use them for defense. I wished I had my tail. It's a terrible thing to be without a tail in a fight. But I was ready to do the best I could with my human body.

"Ax! I mean, Phillip. Relax."

"Bbbbbbbrrrrrriiiiiiinnnnngggg!"

"That noise!" I cried. "What kind of beast is it?"

"Ax, it's just the bell for first period," Jake said. "Take it easy. People are staring."

"It's not a threat?"

"No. It's not a threat. It's depressing, but not dangerous."

I followed Prince Jake as he led the way down the hall. It was difficult to forget the horrible noise. When humans are threatened their bodies are flooded with a chemical that make them hyper-alert, fearful, and aggressive. The chemical is called adrenalin. My system was now flooded with adrenalin. It was very distracting.

We entered one of the large doors. Inside were approximately thirty humans arranged in small, confining seats. At the front of the room was a large table. An older human stood there.

"Everyone get to your seats," the older human said.

Prince Jake said, "Mr. Pardue? This is my cousin from out of town. His name's Phillip. He's just hanging with me today, okay?"

"Just sit. Sit. Be quiet and sit."

I could tell from Prince Jake's facial expression that he was troubled. He took my arm and led me to the back of the room.

"Take that desk," Prince Jake said.

"Take it where? Wheh-err? Where?"

"I mean sit in it."

I understood sitting. I was getting pretty good at passing for human.

Once, for two days I had to morph Prince Jake and pretend to be him. I was successful in fooling his parents and brother. Although I later learned that his parents believed "he" had become mentally ill. When the real Prince Jake returned, they took him to see a doctor.

"Sitting in this desk is unpleasant," I said.

"You got that right, dude," a human I didn't know said.

"What is going on back there? Quiet down," the teacher demanded loudly. "What is . . . what ... wha . . ." Suddenly, he clutched at his head with both hands. "Everyone be quiet! Quiet!"

Now Prince Jake looked very troubled. "Mr. Pardue, are you okay?"

All the other humans stared at the teacher, too. Everyone was very quiet.

"Okay?" Mr. Pardue demanded in a loud, angry voice. "Am I okay? Am I - aaaaahhhhh!"

Without warning, Mr. Pardue pitched forward. He fell on the floor. He clawed at his head with his hands.

And he cried. "Yeerk! Get out of me!"

He clawed at his head till blood began to flow.

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