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:: #24 The Suspicion
:: Book Overview

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Narrator: Cassie

Cover Morph: Cassie to Anteater

Release Date: November 1998

Cover Quote: What counts is on the inside. Most of the time...

Plot Summary: Cassie, the other Animorphs, and Ax have a few little problems. A few very little problems. Actually, the problems call themselves Helmacrons. They’re less than an inch tall, and they’re pretty upset at Cassie. They believe she just stole their ship. Cassie thought it was just a toy, and gave it to charity. Now the Helmacrons want it back.

So the Animorphs and Ax have a new dilemma. Because the Helmacrons have their own secret weapon: They can shrink other beings down to their size. And, if they don’t get their ship back soon, everyone on the planet is in for a little surprise . . .

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:: Sample Chapter

They were gigantic. They were brown Godzillas. They were... cockroaches.

Their antennae were hundred-foot-long bullwhips. Their legs were jointed telephone poles. They were vast, overpowering, terrifying machines made of five-inch-thick armor.

They towered over us, two humongous, clanking cockroaches. I mean, you think you know how gross cockroaches are. But you know nothing till you've seen a cockroach literally the size of a Wal-Mart. Next time you go to a Wal-Mart or K-Mart or Target or a big grocery store, stand out in front and look at it and think "cockroach."

They were very, very big.

And they didn't smell very good, either.

<Hi, it's us,> Jake said.

<You just scared the pee out of us!> Tobias answered. <Can you see us down here?>

<No, our eyes aren't very good, as you know. But Ax can see you. He led us to you.>

<Ax?> Tobias asked.

"Ax?" Marco and I said, looking at each other.

Then slowly, very slowly, we turned.

Ax.

A wolf spider.

"AAAAHHHH!"

"AAAAHHHH!"

It didn't matter that we knew it was Ax. My brain wasn't working. My legs turned to jelly. I sat down very hard, very fast.

You cannot begin to conceive of how terrifying that sight was.

Twice as tall as the roaches. With eight legs, each the size of the Saint Louis arch. Gnashing, wickedly sharp mouth parts that looked like the gates of hell. A swollen, stinking, bloated, hairy body.

But none of that was what made Marco and Tobias and me shake with uncontrollable fear.

It was the eyes.

Eight of them. Some were glittering, multifaceted compound eyes. Others were blank, dead, black simple eyes. The smallest ones looked bigger than we were.

And that face, that evil, staring face...

I could feel that image being laser-printed directly onto my brain. I would never forget it. If I lived a hundred years, I would be seeing that face.

<Hello,> Ax said. <Did I make an error when I said I was Canadese?>

"Ax, I hope you have control over that morph," I said.

I tried to look away and figure out how the Helmacrons were reacting, but there was just no looking away from those eight big eyeballs.

However, the Helmacrons were reacting.

<Do you think to terrify us with your pitiful morphs? We are Helmacron warriors!>

They were yelling this as they hustled away at top speed.

<Ax, make sure they keep running,> Jake said calmly.

Ax turned, a movement that made me yelp in fear. But at least those eyes were aimed somewhere else.

"Yuh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uk," Marco shuddered. "Man, I did not need to see that. That's worth about thirty nights of waking up screaming in a cold sweat."

Ax took off after the Helmacrons, jerky but swift, and as evil-looking a creation as I ever hope to see.

His lower half was obscured by the lumpy dirt around us when...

TSEEEEEW! TSEEEEEW!

<Aaaahhhhh!> Ax cried.

I forgot my fear and ran up the slope to see over the lip of the depression. There, hovering just a quarter inch above the dirt, was one of the Helmacron ships.

Ax twisted in apparent agony, his mile-high legs flailing madly in pure reflex. He turned toward us and then I saw the smoking, sizzling, burned-meat-smelling eye that had been incinerated by the Helmacron ship.

TSEEEEW! TSEEEEW!

They fired again, point-blank range, and all four of the legs on the left side of Ax's spider body were cut in two. He fell from the sky like some slow-motion asteroid. The severed legs toppled slowly over, like impossibly tall trees.

<Demorph!> Jake shouted. <Ax! Demorph!>

We had made a deadly mistake. It was all a question of size. The Helmacrons were laughable when we were big. But down here, at this scale, they were as dangerous as Yeerks...

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