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:: #44 The Unexpected
:: Book Overview

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Narrator: Cassie

Cover Morph: Cassie to Kangaroo

Release Date: July 2000

Cover Quote: Some say you shouldn't play mind games. Tell that to the Yeerks...

Plot Summary: The Animorphs have been split up before. And they've had to fight battles without one another. But this time is very different. Not only is Cassie totally alone. She's managed to find herself in Australia. In the rural Outback. The other Animorphs and Ax don't even know she's there.

Cassie doesn't have any idea where she's going, or if she can even survive the rugged terrain. But she does know she has to get to a town or village and contact her family and friends. Because she just realized that there's someone else who is also new to the Outback. Visser Three.



:: Sample Chapter

The Blade ship hung low in the sky, black and silent against the setting sun. An army of Taxxons and Hork-Bajir leaped from its belly. They spread out over the scrub, trampling bushes and grass. The Hork-Bajir were armed. They fired Dracon beams at anything that moved.

I leaned against the window. It was happening again. I'd led innocent people - Yami and his family - into danger.

His family!

I whirled. "Yami, where did your mother go?"

He motioned toward the door. "On the other side of the outstation, beyond the gum trees."

I nodded. "Good. Where's Tjala?"

Yami's eyes widened. He ran toward the door. "Tjala!"

The pup tore inside, wiggling and wagging.

<ANDALITE!> Visser Three's thought-speak thundered through my head. Yami pressed his hands over his ears. Tjala yelped and flattened himself against the floor.

<You didn't think I'd forget you, did you?> Pure evil penetrated my skull. <Surrender now, or I will annihilate every living thing within a square mile. You have three minutes.>

Three minutes. I stared out the window. I couldn't fight all those Taxxons and Hork-Bajir. Not alone.

And I couldn't hide. It would only put Yami and his family in more danger. Visser Three would kill them all just to flush me out.

I had to give him what he wanted. I had to come out in the open. If he saw me, he'd leave Yami's family alone. If he knew where I was, he wouldn't have to blast the desert into confetti looking for me.

One last Taxxon tumbled to earth, then the port of the Blade ship rippled shut. The sky shimmered and the ship vanished, concealed behind a cloaking beam. But Visser Three wasn't gone. He was hiding. Watching.

"They have no right to be here." Yami stood behind me, watching the strange alien beings ransack his desert.

"They're here because of me."

"No." Yami's grandfather touched my arm.

I looked down, startled.

He drew a sharp breath. His face twisted in pain, but his eyes stayed bright and alert.

"They're here because they're evil." His voice was a low rasp. "You fight these creatures, yes?"

I nodded. "Yes."

"If you did not fight them, do you think they would leave us alone? Do you think they would stay away from this place and never hurt us? No. They would come. They would take our land, destroy our home. Our life would be gone forever. This I know." He swallowed. "Do everything you can, and anything you must." He closed his eyes. "I only wish I could help."

I touched his cheek. "You already have," I said.

<ANDALITE!> Visser Three's voice boomed. <Two minutes.>

I eased the door open and peered out into the shadows. Nothing. I slipped onto the porch.

I needed strength, speed, and endurance. A morph that was desert-ready. I focused on kangaroo.


My hips swung forward. Thighs bulged into hulking mounds of muscle. My feet shot out, longer than my forearm. Toenails thickened and stretched. The two middle toes on each foot melted into one solid, claw-tipped bayonet.


A tail shot from my spine, a column of pure muscle, as long as the rest of my body and as thick as my neck. The skin on my belly stretched to form a pouch. Ssssccuuuuuuuurrrunnch.

My skull shifted back and out as my nose and jawbone sprouted into a muzzle. Ears stretched and shot to the top of my head. Dense fur spread from my whiskers to the tip of my tail.


I was Information Central, sensing everything at once.

My eyes peered through the long shadows on the porch, picking up the slight movement of grass twisting in the wind.

My ears flicked and twitched. I could turn them in any direction, like two satellite dishes, tuning into the scuffing sound of Taxxon belly scraping against sand.

I sniffed. The sweet sharp scent of some desert plant mingled with the retched odor of Hork-Bajir. I shuffled to the edge of the porch, using my tail as a prop while I balanced on on my front feet and swung my back legs forward.

I spotted the boomerang lying on the bench. The boomerang Yami's grandfather had given me. I reached for it. The kangaroo's front paws were amazing, almost like hands, without a real thumb, but with five nimble, clawed fingers. I gripped the boomerang in one paw, held my pouch open with the other, and slipped the boomerang inside.

<ANDALITE! Your time is up.>

Bummmph. Bummmph. I leaped out onto the open sand.

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