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:: #18 The Decision
:: Book Overview

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Narrator: Ax

Cover Morph: Ax to Misquito

Release Date: May 1998

Cover Quote: Change a little. Change alot. Just change...

Plot Summary: Ax and the Animorphs are about to have a huge problem. It starts when they decide to morph mosquitoes in order to slip by some unsuspecting Yeerks. It ends with them stuck in Zero-space with no idea how they got there, now way to get back to Earth... and no oxygen.

Luckily, an Andalite scout ship finds them before it's too late. But now Ax is finally with his own people. And he doesn't know if he ever wants to go back to Earth....

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:: Sample Chapter

There was a distinct popping sound and suddenly, instantly, I was no longer a mosquito tapping into a human's vein.

I was in space. White, empty Zero-space!

<Whaa. . . ? What? Z-space?> I cried. Maybe not the most brilliant comment. But I was confused.

I kicked my legs instinctively. My Andalite legs. I was back in my own body. But there was nothing to kick against.

I felt no sensation of movement, no air was rushing over me. Already the lack of oxygen was beginning to cloud my brain. My eyes were going blind. My limbs were numb.

Zero-space! It was impossible. And yet here I was.

I looked around frantically. I turned my stalk eyes in every direction. I saw my own body, inside and out. An n-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, twisted so that I could see inside my own body.

And there, to one side of me, were four human bodies spread out in the same way -- weird cross-sections. I saw Jake's face, but also his beating heart and the muscle tissues of his legs and the inside of his brain. The same with the others.

They were all writhing in agony.

And there was one bird, very still.

<Prince Jake! Tobias!> I cried. But of course they couldn't answer. There was no air to carry their mouth sounds. There was nothing, not even the few stray atoms and molecules that float free in regular space. There were no stars or planets. Nothing exists in Zero-space.

I happened to catch sight of a silvery, graceful creation, perhaps half a mile away. A ship! As with the bodies, I saw the inside and outside of the ship all in one picture. I could see distorted individuals inside, going about their duties.

But even mind-numb and gaping at a confused nightmare vision, I knew what sort of creatures they were.

Andalites. It was an Andalite ship!

Its zero-space engines burned brightly, but it was not moving away.

It hit me in a flash. I knew what had happened. As any Andalite knows, when you morph something much smaller than your own body, the excess mass is extruded into Zero-space. It hangs there, a wad of randomly-arranged matter.

Or at least that was the theory. There was nothing random here. Because we were outside of normal three-dimensional space, I could see the insides of everything and everyone. But the bodies were still definitely human and Andalite bodies. They were not just random globs.

Once, some time ago, I explained to my human friends about excess mass being pushed into Zero-space. They asked whether some ship traveling through Zero-space might not hit these matter bubbles.

I'd laughed. After all, the odds were . . .

Well, obviously it now seemed the odds were pretty good. The Andalite ship had come too close and had pulled us into its magnetic field. It was now dragging us in its wake as it blasted through Z-space.

<Aboard the Andalite ship!> I cried with all the power I could still muster. <Andalite ship! Andalite ship! We're trapped in your wake and dying. Help! Andalite ship, help!>

The energy it took to cry out sapped my remaining strength. There was no air. I could literally see my own lungs collapsing inside me. I could see my hearts frantically beating, trying to keep me alive.

But now the hearts were slowing . . .slowing.

<Andalite ship! Help! Help!> I cried. <Help...>

I can't describe the pain of seeing my own fellow Andalites so close. The first Andalites I'd seen in so, so long.

But of course they couldn't see me. Inside the ship they preserved normal three-dimensional space. The Andalites in the ship saw only bulkheads and decks about them.

And then I literally saw, as though I were standing outside myself, the last beats of my heart. I saw the blood flow in my brain slow and stop,

I knew I was going to die. I was going to die within sight of my own people.

Die . . .

My consciousness went dark.

And then suddenly, I wasn't dead. I wasn't spread out in multiple dimensions. I was in one piece, alive, and lying on my side on a shaped table that adjusted gently to hold my tail and legs comfortably.

<What?> I said, for no particular reason.

<I don't think what is the question,> an Andalite voice said. <I think why and how and especially who are the questions.>

I turned my stalk eyes and there, standing beside me, were three Andalite warriors.

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