Chapter 1

Disclaimer: I don't own Animorphs or Stargate SG-1

Author's notes: The cover morph for the Invasion was Derek/Ferret. The Cover morph for this book, the Visitor is Rachel/Cat. Also, I know that there are people upset that I haven't finished my Yu-Gi-Oh! Fiction especially since it is close to being finished. Seeker of the Soul, Omega dragon, my sister…me. I really can't help my writer's block, but I assure you I do have every intention of finishing War. To Omega Dragon: re-read the David Trilogy: Jake and Marco both do Rhino, and Cassie, Rachel, Tobias, and Ax all do Elephant. I do intend to do some morphs that never made an appearance in the series such as: Praying Mantis, Sugar Glider, Lemur, Melissa Chapman, Tasmanian Tiger, Goa'ould, Asgard, Skrit Na, Penguin, and several species of Dinosaur. Some of the books will be the same, and some won't. For instance I can guarantee that Megamorphs #2 will be very different…but Animorphs #4 the same…the Animorphs just aren't a team without the Ax-man.

My name is Rachel. I won't tell you my last name. None of us will ever tell you our last names. Whenever I do use a last name, it's a fake. Sorry, but that's the way it has to be. And we won't tell you the name of our town, or our school, or even what state we live in. If I told you my last name the Yeerks would be able to find my friends and me. And if they ever find us it will be the end.

They might kill us. Or worse.

Yes there really is something worse than death. I've seen it. I've heard the cries of despair from those doomed to be slaves of the Yeerks. I've watched as the evil gray slugs writhe and squeeze in through the ear and take over what was once a free human being.

There are six of us. Just six: Jake, Derek, Cassie, Marco, Tobias and me. Marco came up with a name for us, for what we are now. He called us Animorphs. I guess that's as good a name as any for what we are. Mostly, I still feel just like a normal kid, you know? But I guess normal kids don't turn into elephants or bald eagles. And normal kids don't spend their free time fighting to save the world from nightmares called Yeerks.

That day the sun was bright. It warmed the earth below us. Warm air rose in an invisible bubble, a thermal. The thermal pushed up beneath our wings and we circled higher and higher and higher, till it almost seemed we could touch space.

Somewhere up there in cold space, up in orbit, was the Yeerk mother ship. Perhaps right over our heads.

The Yeerks were parasites. In their natural state they were just big slugs who lived in a sludgy pond called a Yeerk pool. But the Yeerks have the power to take over other bodies. They have enslaved many races throughout the galaxy—the Taxxons, the Hork-Bajir, and others. And now they had come to earth, looking for more bodies to control.

Who was there to try and stop them? Well, off in space, there were the Andalites. But the Andalites were far away, and it would take them a long time to come rescue the people of Earth.

On Earth, no one knew of the Yeerks. No one but six kids who were having fun being birds and riding the thermals.

I looked over at my friends. Some were a little way below, some were higher up. Jake and Derek were flapping their wings a little more than the rest of us. The two of them had chosen to adapt the same falcon morph. Falcons don't soar quite as well as hawks or eagles.

Tobias was the smoothest flyer. That was partly because red-tailed hawks are natural acrobats. Partly it was because Tobias had much more practice flying than the rest of us.

Too much practice.

(Okay Tobias, you were right. This is the coolest thing in the world,) I said.

(Want to try a dive? It's amazing,) he said.

I wasn't exactly sure that I wanted to dive, but what could I say? I don't usually turn down a challenge. So I said (Sure.)

(Follow me.)

Tobias bent his wings back and plummeted toward the ground like a bullet.

I tucked my wings back and went after him.

The ground came rushing up at me.

I was falling! Falling, with nothing at all to stop me from splatting right into the ground!

It was like a nightmare.

We were going like sixty miles an hour, as fast as a speeding car. Sixty miles per hour, aiming right for the ground.

But even though it was scary, it was also way cool.

Forget surfing. Forget skateboarding. Forget snowboarding. Forget mountain biking. You haven't had a thrill till you've ridden the thermals a mile up into the air and then gone hurtling straight down at maximum speed.

Air streamed past, just like when you open the car window and you're going really fast. It was like being in the middle of a hurricane. The leading edge of my wings was battered and vibrating. I felt my tail making dozens of tinny adjustments, moving a single feather one way or the other to keep me pointed straight. But one wrong move and I could have tumbled end over end. At this speed, if I suddenly tumbled I feared I could break a wing. A broken wing this high up was a death sentence.

(Tobias! I just realized something.)

(What?)

(This isn't like being an elephant. If I got into trouble as an elephant I could morph back to my human body. But I'm a long way up. If I morphed back to my human body…) I didn't finish the sentence. I just had this vision of me, the real me, Rachel, dropping like a stone toward the hard ground below.

I guess that Tobias could sense the fear that was building in me.

(Let the eagle do the flying,) Tobias advised. (Relax and let the eagle's mind do the thinking. She knows what she's doing.)

(I'm glad that one of us does,) I said nervously. It's strange when you're in a morph. You have the animal's brain in with your own. Usually you can control that animal intelligence, but not always. And sometimes you have to learn to let go, to let the animal take charge.

I relaxed. Instantly the vibration lessened. I felt more stable. The eagle was in charge and Tobias was right: The eagle knew how to fly.

Then to my amazement two bullets shot past us. Faster and smaller than either Tobias or me. Jake, and Derek. Their peregrine falcon's smaller wings made it harder for the two of them to float on the thermals. But those same wings made them unbelievably fast in diving. It was almost like Tobias and I were standing still.

(Yaaaaaah ha ha!) Jake yelled in our heads.

(Whoaoaoaoh whoo!) Derek agreed. (That was awesome! Mountain biking has got nothing on that! That was incredible.)

I smiled inwardly. Before we had become Animorphs, Derek had been this really shy kid, that I sort of knew because my friend Melissa said he was cute. Now he seemed to be opening up, becoming more social.

(Hey Jake,) Derek said. (Race you to the ground!)

(That would be kind of pointless wouldn't it?) Jake asked. (We morphed the same Falcon, from the same DNA. Derek we'll be exactly the same speed.)

(One, two, three…go!) Derek said ignoring Jake. One of the two falcons, Derek I assume since they looked identical, folded their wings and shot off into a dive. The other falcon hesitated a split second before taking off after him.

(Jake,) Tobias said privately to him and me. (Flare your wings a bit and then fold them completely. That should give you the edge.)

The second falcon did as Tobias said, and almost instantly out distanced Derek.

(Hey! No fair Tobias is helping you isn't he!) Derek protested.

I smiled inwardly again at the little competition between Derek and Jake.

Zzzziiinnnngggg!

Something went right by my head.

(You hear that?) Tobias asked.

(Yeah, I sure did,) I said. (What was it?)

(I don't know.)

Instinctively I pulled out of the dive, straining every muscle in my wings as I opened them, and felt the shock of wind resistance. It was like opening a parachute.

The rest followed my lead. We were still a few thousand feet up, but much closer to the ground than we had been.

Zzzziiinnnngggg!

I felt something go right through my tail feathers.

(Hey some one down there is shooting at us!) I said.

(Some people don't deserve to have guns!) Derek said angrily. Derek's dad was in the military so naturally he and his family were very conservative and gun control was probably a big issue at his house. I wondered if this guy made Derek change his position.

(I can see them,) Cassie said. She and Marco had just joined up with us. Like Derek and Jake, they had both morphed the same bird. For them it was an osprey. It was really hard to tell them apart because you can't really tell where thought-speech comes from. (Two guys, over in the woods. They have a rifle)

(I can't believe this!) I was really mad. (I'm an endangered species. I'm a bald eagle! What's the matter with these creeps?)

(You're not the only endangered species,) Derek said. (Peregrine Falcons are endangered too. But what kind of Americans would shoot at a bald eagle anyway?)

(The treacherous ones,) I said.

(He's getting ready to shoot again,) Marco reported. (I can see him taking aim.)

(As soon as you see the flash of the rifle, dodge hard right!) I yelled.

A normal hawk or eagle or falcon would not have been able to figure that out. But we weren't just raptors. We still had our human intelligence. There are times to let the animal take over. There are other times when that superior human intelligence comes in handy.

(There! They fired) Jake yelled.

Instantly I turned a sharp right. The bullet went whizzing by harmlessly.

(You know what? I don't think I like those guys,) Tobias said.

Tobias has special reasons for disliking anyone who would shoot at a bird.

(Me neither,) I agreed. (I have an idea.)

I explained what I wanted to do and the six of us flew off, out of the range of the shooters. When we were far enough away we went into a steep dive, down, down, faster and faster toward the trees.

I thought I was scared, diving from high up. Now I was diving from a lower altitude, aiming directly at the trees. This was a whole new level of terror. With my eagles eyes I could see bark on the trees. I could see ants on the bark of the trees. It was like those trees were right in front of us.

I hoped the eagle knew when to pull out of the dive. If I slammed into one of those trees at sixty miles an hour, I was Spam.

Then at just the right second, like a perfectly trained squadron of fighter jets, we opened our wings and swooshed into the trees.

Unbelievable!

(Ah haaah!) I heard Marco yell. (I don't know if that was fun or just insane!)

It was like some video-game nightmare. We kept most of the speed from the dive and now we were zooming through the trees so fast that the tree trunks were just a brown blur all around us.

Tree! Bank left.

Tree! Bank right

Tree! Dozens of feathers made the slightest individual adjustments. Muscles in my wings trimmed the angle of attack a millimeter one way, a millimeter back.

Tree! Tree! Treetreetreetreetree!

(Yaaaaaaaaah!) I yelled half from terror and half from the total, out of control thrill of it.

In and out. Around and through. Zoom. ZOOM!

Suddenly, there they were, just ahead in a clearing. Two teenage creeps sitting in the back of a pickup truck. One guy had a blond ponytail. The other wore a baseball cap. They were a hundred yards away, like being all the way down a football field, but my eagle eyes were so good I could count their eyelashes.

The guy with the ponytail had the rifle. The other guy was drinking a beer. They were still scanning the skies, looking for us.

Guess what, morons? I thought as we raced at them. We're not up there anymore. We're right here…

In…

Your…

FACE!