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:: #49 The Diversion
:: Book Five of Story Arc
:: Book Overview

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Narrator: Tobias

Cover Morph: Tobias to German Shepard

Release Date: December 2000

Cover Quote: This war can't go on forever. Will it be us? Or them...?

Plot Summary: The Yeerks are finally starting to realize that the "Andalite bandits" are probably not aliens at all. They're finally starting to realize that maybe they've been dealing with humans all along. And no one - especially the newly appointed Visser One - is happy with this knowledge. Not happy at all.

When Tobias, the other Animorphs, and Ax realize that the Yeerks are about to find them, its by accident. But that doesn't make the discovery any less serious. Because in a war, one side wins. And one side loses...

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:: Sample Chapter

"Let me get this straight." Marco shredded a piece of hay. "They wanted blood samples. Not cash. Not drugs. Blood."

We were in Cassie's barn. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic. Sort of a homeless shelter for wounded animals. Cassie's parents were both veterinarians. Her mom worked at The Gardens, a combination zoo/amusement park where we'd acquired most of our battle morphs. Her dad ran the clinic here on their farm. Cassie helped him out.

At the moment she was inside a big wire pen, doctoring a doe that had been shot in the thight. The rest of us were trying not to focus on the hypodermic needle in her hand.

"The rest of us" could've starred in a one of those weepy movies on Lifetime. Jake: Rachel's cousin, Cassie's true love, and the leader of our little band of misfits. Ax the alien: Elfangor's little brother and, strange as it sounds, my uncle. Marco: Jake's best friend and Ax's part-time roommate. Rachel, of course: Cassie's best friend, the girl dating out of her species. And me: Tobias. The Bird-boy. On lookout duty in the rafters.

Cassie stroked the deer's neck. "It's okay, girl."

Ax reached into the pen and stroked the animal. He was in his natural Andalite form. It wouldn't have surprised m if the doe viewed him as a distant cousin. An eccentric distant cousin who ate through his hooves.

Cassie closed the pen and turned to face us. "All I know is what my mom said. Two men broke into her veterinary ward last night. It wasn't the usual smash and grab, and no, they weren't after drugs, which surprised Mom, too. They wanted blood samples, specific blood samples. Tiger. Elephant. Eagle. Rhino and grizzly. Gorilla and wolf."

Rachel stared at her. "Our battle morphs."

"Right." Cassie nodded. "They showed no interest in the warthogs or baboons. One of Mom's lab techs stumbled in on them. They really roughed him up, especially -" She glanced at me. "Especially when he told them The Gardens didn't have a red-tailed hawk."

Seven pairs of eyes, including Ax's stalk eyes, gazed up at the rafters. I turned away to preen a wing.

Cassie went on. "The lab tech said they'd been cold and methodical up to that point, but when they couldn't get the hawk sample, they just went nuts. Like they were afraid to leave without it."

"Yeah, I bet," said Marco. "I bet they were peeing their pants wondering how to explain the concept of failure to Visser One."

Visser One. Evil incarnate. The Yeerk in charge of the invasion of Earth, recently promoted from Visser Three.

Elfangor's murderer. Actually, he was responsible for a lot more deaths than we even knew about.

Rachel nodded. "Our battle morphs? The Gardens? Nutso thieves on a mission for hawk blood? Definitely Yeerks."

"Yeah," Jake agreed. "But the Chee haven't heard anything, not even rumors. And we haven't intercepted Yeerk communications about a new project. Whatever they're up to, it's at the highest level. We don't want to do anything stupid. We need really to think this through."

"Okay, so we'll think it through and then we'll do something stupid," said Marco. "First question: Why do the Yeerks need animal blood? Have they invented a new way to morph?"

Ax's stalk eyes narrowed to slits. <Yeerks do not invent. They steal. Everything they have, they've taken from other species. Most notably the Andalites. They do not have the intelligence - or the integrity - to invent a morphing technique of their own.>

Did I mention Andalites can be a wee bit arrogant?

Cassie looked at Jake.

"They're after something bigger. I think Ax is right," he said.. Tom brought home a flyer yesterday. The Sharing is sponsoring a huge blood drive."

Tom was Jake's older brother.

Tom was a Controller, a high-ranking member of The Sharing. The front organization for the Yeerks.

Cassie took a deep breath. "Here's what I think. There's only one reason the Yeerks would suddenly be interested in blood. DNA. They're collecting samples of our morph animals, and they're collecting as many human samples as they can." She looked at us. "They're searching for humans with strands of animal DNA in their blood."

Silence.

"Which means - " Marco sighed.

"They know we're human," said Rachel.

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