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:: #30 The Reunion
:: Book Overview

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Narrator: Marco

Cover Morph: Marco to Cockroach

Release Date: May 1999

Cover Quote: Marco must make the ultimate sacrifice...

Plot Summary: Marco's mom is back. But she's not Visser One anymore. Marco's not even sure if she's still a controller. But he's determined to find out. No matter what it takes. No matter what might happen. Marco wants his mom back.

Jake, the other Animorphs, and Ax realize that Marco is under some serious stress. And that the situation with his mom could very well jeopardize everything they've worked for. Now they also have to wonder if Marco will be the one to give away the secret of the Animorphs....

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:: Sample Chapter

<Marco!> Tobias snapped.

A second step. A third!

<Ax!>

Suddenly there was an Andalite tail blade at my throat.

I stopped.

<No, Marco,> Ax said calmly. <Visser One will be back in your mother's head the second she senses any danger. And you could not open those locks with force. They are no doubt controlled by a brain-wave interface. So that the Yeerk can maintain control, even outside your mother's body.>

I grabbed his tail and tried to shove it away. But an Andalite tail is nothing but one long, coiled muscle. It moved about three inches.

<Marco, stop it!> Tobias said. <Back off and think about it! Right now she's turned away, so she can't see you. You step into her line of sight she'll know.>

I stopped trying to push Ax's tail away.

<We're here to investigate, Marco,> Tobias said gently. Not the time, my friend. No matter how much you want it to be, this isn't the time.>

<What if you fail, Marco?> Ax asked. <If you reveal yourself but are unable to stop the Yeerk from re-entering her. What then, Marco?>

My mother was locked into a vise, three feet away from me. Maybe Ax was wrong. Maybe I could release the clamp. Maybe...

I stepped back.

I felt like dirt. She was right there! Free, if only for a moment. I could tell her I was okay! I could tell her...

Nothing. I could tell her nothing. Ax was probably right. I would not have been able to free her. Visser One would re-infest. Security would be breached. Our secret revealed. And then?

And then we would have to destroy the innocent as well as the guilty.

It made sense. It was the cold, calculated, smart thing to do.

I wiped my hand over my face. It came away wet.

"What's that? In the corner," I whispered, distracting myself.

<Surveillance and communications equipment.>

It was a console about the size of an upright piano. On top sat a satellite dish, pointed toward the outside window. In the middle of the console was a large screen. And on that screen were images that seemed to have been shot from above.

Images that were disturbingly familiar. Images of free Hork-Bajir.

<Visser One knows about the Hork-Bajir colony,> Tobias said grimly. <That's what she's up to.>

<Hand-held Dracon weapons over there, surveillance devices, a portable Yeerk pool,> Ax observed, looking around the room with his stalk eyes. <Everything the Visser needs for guerrilla action.>

<That briefcase, by the side of the Yeerk pool,> Tobias said. <Is that what she was carrying this morning, Marco?>

"Yeah. And there's another one on the desk by the window."

<Emergency Kandrona Particle Generators,> Ax surmised. <One use each. It appears the Visser only has six days to finish whatever it is she's started.>

"Rot in hell!"

It was said softly, but ferociously. We froze.

My mother's voice! But who was she talking to? To us? Did she know we were there? Had she heard us?

No. No, of course: She was talking to the Yeerk. It must have begun to re-infest her.

BBWWBBWWBBWW!

The room started to tremble. I jumped, startled out of my trance.

<What?> Tobias demanded.

"Out of here!' I hissed.

We darted through a second door. Into a small, private bathroom.

BAM!

Even in the bathroom I felt the shock of the blow. Someone or something slamming the office door with the force of a battering ram.

BAM! BAM!

"The Yeerks," I said. "They're here to kill her!"

<Then they will be doing our job for us,> Ax answered coldly.

"Not while I stand around and watch," I said.

<The person in the next room is not your mother. It is Visser One. She will kill you the first chance she gets.>

I ignored him. Gorilla. It was my favorite power morph and I was ready to bust some heads. If I couldn't save my mother from her Yeerk, at least I could save her from whomever was trying to kill Visser One.

<You are being foolish,> Ax said.

"Bull. You're letting your hatred of Yeerks get in the way. If Visser Three is trying to kill Visser One there may be an opening for us."

<An opportunity?> Tobias said thoughtfully.

<Maybe,> Ax allowed. <But Prince Jake said we were not to -->

"Blame me," I muttered.

<We will,> Tobias said with a laugh.

FWAM!

The outer door crashed in.

Tseew! Tseeew!

The familiar sounds of Dracon beams firing!

I opened the bathroom door. In the office, total chaos.

The Visser had freed my mother's body from the pool and was crouched behind the surveillance console. She was firing a Dracon beam.

A Hork-Bajir was staggering back, a burning hole in its chest. But more were pushing through the doorway.

<Party time,> I said, now fully gorilla.

I opened the bathroom door and barreled out.

Visser One shot a surprised glance at me. She hesitated. Should she shoot?

Two huge Hork-Bajir rushed her. She turned her attention back to them. Too late!

A bladed arm swung. It was meant to remove my mother's arm. It missed and knocked the weapon from her hand.

She was helpless. The Hork-Bajir leaned close.

WHUMPF!

My fist flattened the snout of the Hork- Bajir. He staggered back. Visser One dived for her Dracon beam. Ax leaped from the bathroom.

"Andalite!" one of the Hork-Bajir yelled in shock.

FWAPP!

Ax's tail blade did to the Hork-Bajir what he'd intended doing to my mom.

But the Hork-Bajir were still coming. There were four in the room. More outside.

"Tseeeeer!"

Tobias flapped, talons out. A flurry of russet and ale feathers and the Hork-Bajir fell back, clutching his eyes.

We fought our way through the stunned aliens, smashing and slashing. And then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Visser One level her Dracon beam. At me!

Too far away for me to reach her. <Ax!> I yelled.

FWAPP!

The bullwhip-fast tail slammed the portable Kandrona and knocked it into her head.

<Rather stupid, Visser, since we are attempting to save your life,> he said to her.

"I don't take help from Andalites!" she screamed in rage. But her weapon was out of reach. Hork-Bajir blocked any hope of retrieving it.

The Visser turned and ran into the bathroom.

I jumped to my feet, just in time for an injured Hork-Bajir flailing blindly about to cut a deep gash in my side. I grabbed it by one of its bladed arms and flung it into a wall. I sunk my fist into a second Hork-Bajir. And Tobias did his own damage. But it was Ax who was winning this fight. His tail was whipping left, right, too fast for the eye to follow.

The Hork-Bajir fell back before him. Fell back fighting at first, then in panic. They fought to get back out through the door.

I grabbed the splintered mess of door and shoved it back in place.

I gave Ax a look. <Dude. I think you scared them.>

<We took them by surprise,> he said modestly.

<I hear chopper blades,> Tobias said, hawk head cocked.

<Is it a get-away, or reinforcements?>

<Don't know. Marco, open that window for me.>

I picked up a chair and threw it against the window. It shattered. <In high rise office buildings the windows don't open,> I said.

Tobias flew out through shards of glittering glass. He reported immediately. <They're outta here!>

"Die Andalite!"

The bathroom door flew open. An arm was raised. A frail-looking arm. With a not-at-all frail-looking Dracon beam.

She'd stashed a weapon in the bathroom!

Tseeew! Tseeew!

The light beams were aimed dead-center at Ax. But Ax wasn't there by the time she'd pulled the trigger.

I dove for the floor and shot forward, sliding on spilt Hork-Bajir blood. The Visser was crouched behind the surveillance console again, hate in her eyes. In my massive fist I grabbed one of the Visser's enormous briefcases and blocked a shot aimed at my head.

With all the power of my gorilla muscles and all the rage of a kid bent on revenge, I leaped forward, tumbled over the surveillance console, and onto Visser One.

WHHUMMPPFFF.

Four hundred pounds of muscle and flesh crushing my mother's slim human body.

I stood up, yanked her to her feet, calmly disarmed her, and tossed weapon aside. I put her in an armlock.

A gentle armlock.

<We save your regrettable life and you try to kill us,> Ax sneered. <You are a perfect representative of your species.>

"So why don't you kill me?" Visser One spat. "Arrogant Andalite filth! Why don't you kill me now?"

<As you wish,> Ax said, nodding to me. <For my part I say: Kill her.>

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