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:: #54 The Beginning
:: Final Animorphs Book
:: Book Ten of Story Arc
:: Book Overview

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Narrator: Rachel

Release Date: May 2001

Cover Quote: It began with six. It will end with five...

Plot Summary: It began with 6. It will end with 5...

No one ever thought it would be come to this. Jake, Rachel, Tobias, Cassie, Marco, and Ax know that even if they could have warned people in the beginning, no one would have believed their story. A story about an invasion of parasitic aliens. So, for all this time, Jake, the other Animorphs, and Ax have secretly held the Yeerks at bay. But those days are over. Itís come down to a final battle between the Yeerks and Animorphs. And no one knows who will win, lose, or live...

THE EXTRODINARY CONCLUSION TO THE BEST-SELLING SERIES! Animorphs #54: The Beginning.

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:: Sample Chapter

My name is Rachel.

I knew what was coming. I knew.

I’d seen it in Jake’s eyes.

And you know what? I was scared.

I never thought I would be. Cassie thinks I’m fearless. Marco thinks I’m reckless. Tobias . . . Well, Tobias loves me.

I guess they all do, in different ways. Jake, too. But Jake had to do the right thing.

I felt sorry for him, you know? He’s carried the weight so long. He’s made hard decisions. None as hard as this maybe. I didn’t blame him, not even for a minute.

But I was scared.

I guess no one wants to die. I guess everyone is scared when the time comes. We were so close. We were right there, right at the finish line, I’d already survived so many times when I shouldn’t have. It seemed unfair. To come this far, get this close?

Jake gave me the job because he knew that only I could do it. Would do it. Ax might have, sure, but he was needed for his skills. Me, I’m not the computer genius. I’m the one you send when you need someone to be crazy, to do the hard thing.

I don’t know wether I’m proud of that or not.

I was Jake’s insurance policy. He thought maybe he wouldn’t have to use me. He hoped, anyway. But down deep he knew, and I knew, and we both hid the truth from the others because Cassie couldn’t let Jake make that decision, and Tobias couldn’t let me, and those two, by loving us, would have screwed everything up.

It was a war, after all. We had to win.

We hadn’t asked the Yeerks to come to Earth. They made that call on their own. They’re a parasite species, not very big or impressive to look at, just these snail-like things that can enter your head through your ear. They have a capacity to anesthetize the inner ear enough to allow them to burrow through the soft tissue. It still hurts but not as much as it should. They dig their way straight to your brain and then flatten themselves out, spread themselves down into the crevices, tie directly into your synapses. They take control.

Absolute control.

They read your thoughts, they sense your emotions. What your eye sees, they see. What your tongue tastes, they taste. If your hand moves, it’s because they moved it. If you speak, it is the Yeerk who has spoken through you, made you into a ventriloquist’s dummy.

Over the course of years they spread like a virus. Invisible. Undetectable. They are your teacher, your pastor, your best friend. They are the police officer, the TV newsman, the soldier. Anyone.

Jake’s parents had recently been taken, they were human-Controllers - people controlled by Yeerks.

Jake’s brother Tom, my cousin, had been a Controller for a long time. He was a powerful Yeerk. Jake still cared for him, still hoped somehow he could be saved.

Jake had sent me away with Tom.

I understood. I approved. If Jake hadn’t sent me I’d have gone anyway.

Still, though, I was scared.

I had power myself. We all did. The strange, unsettling power to absorb DNA from any living creature, to then alter our physical bodies to become that creature.

I’ve been a whole zoo, you know. Everything from a fly to an elephant. Bat. Owl. I’ve flown, way up in the sky with eagle wings. I’ve flown up there with Tobias. Way up in the clouds. If there’s something better than that, well, I never found it.

It’s not magic. Just technology. Of course technology always seems like magic at first. Haul a tenth century knight into the modern age and show him your cell phone or your TV or your computer or your car. Magic.

This technology came from the Andalites. The Andalites are enemies of the Yeerks, and I guess allies of ours, though right at the moment they were more likely to annihilate Earth than the Yeerks were. You know the old saying, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

Anyway, it began with a chance meeting. An Andalite prince named Elfangor crashed his shot-up fighter in our path. Coincidence? No, history. And a helping hand from the Ellimist who of course never lends a helping hand. Elfangor died, but not before he told us what was happening and gave us the morphing technology.

I’ve been a rat. A dolphin . . . Oh, man, do they have fun. That rush when you’re zooming straight up through the water, when you see the ripply surface of the sea, when you blow through that barrier and soar through the air . . . And then, splash! And do it all over again.

So, anyway, we decided we had to try and stop the Yeerks. Jake and Marco and Cassie and Tobias and Ax who is Elfangor’s little brother, and me. We lived this secret life. We fought and mostly lost, but we survived. We frustrated the Yeerks. We ruined Visser Three’s life, though he still managed to be promoted to Visser One.

Maybe we did too good a job frustrating the Visser. The Yeerks grew tired of infiltration. Visser One had been craving open war. And when we blew up their ground-based Yeerk Pool, the source of heir food, the center of their lives, it was gloves off.

So much the better as far as I was concerned. The time had come to settle things.

The Yeerks obliterated our town to create a dead zone around their construction of a new Yeerk Pool. They were in a hurry. Without a functioning Pool they were getting hungry.

But there was a worm gnawing at the Yeerk race. They had acquired morphing technology themselves in part because of what Jake thought was Cassie’s betrayal.

Cassie sees further than I do. Further than any of us. She sees deep. The girl cannot dress or accessorize to save her life, she’s a girl who wears manure-stained Wal-Mart jeans for crying out loud, but Cassie sees connections and possibilities that others don’t.

She let Tom take the morphing cube. And that changed everything. Some Yeerks began to see a way out of their parasite lives. The hunger-crazed Taxxons - arace held captive by the Yeerks - began to dream of a life without their Yeerk overlords. A revolution was brewing.

At the same time, the Andalite fleet was closing in, ready to obliterate Earth as the only way to stop the Yeerk infestation. They had watched the Yeerks concentrate their forces on Earth. They were ready to bring down the curtain: obliterate Earth and the Yeerk Empire would be gutted.

Too bad about those creatures who got in the way. What were they called? Oh yeah, humans.

But Tom betrayed his Visser, betrayed the Yeerk race. Not for the sake of poor old humanity, but for his own ambition. He would escape with the morphing cube and with a hard core of faithful Yeerk supporters. He would abandon the Yeerk people to the Andalite vengeance, destroy the hated Animorphs, and if H. sapiens was annihilated too, well . . .

That’s where Jake saw his chance. Tom’s Yeerk is smart. Jake is smarter. Now Jake and the others had control of the Yeerk Pool Ship. Tom had control of the Visser’s own personal Blade Ship.

Tom - the Yeerk in Tom’s head - was closing in for his final act of betrayal: he would kill his master Visser One, and doom his fellow Yeerks. He thought we were already dead.

Surprise, Tom.

My favorite morph was the grizzly bear. Seven feet tall standing erect. You cannot imagine the power especially when united with human intelligence and knowledge. Compared to my grizzly morph a human being is like something made out of glued-together Popsicle sticks.

How many times have I felt that change as muscle piles on muscle, as the thick bown fur covers me, as the rail spike claws grow from my fingers?

The grizzly bear and I had been through a lot together.

I would go to grizzly to kill Tom.

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