|#42: The Journey|
Detailed Plot: The Chee have found out that a factory disguised as a Dunkin' Donuts is actually producing portable Kandronas, so the Animorphs go out to disable the factory. They cause some damage, but while they're demorphing after the battle, they realize that some kid took their picture. They have to spend the night doing surveillance and making sure he doesn't go anywhere with the disposable camera, but then they get attacked by Helmacrons.
The males and the females are feuding with each other aboard the ship, but they agree on one thing: they intend to defeat the humans and steal the blue box to power their ship. Unfortunately, when the Animorphs try to stop them, they end up taking Marco hostage by stampeding into his nose. They claim they're going to kill him, so the group has to think up a plan quickly. None of the morphs they have are small enough to comfortably invade Marco's nose after the Helmacrons, so they decide to use the shrink ray that they know is on board the ship and go in after them as themselves. Marco reluctantly agrees to the plan to allow a battle to take place in his body.
After Ax extracts the shrink ray and prepares it for Marco's use, he shrinks his friends, and they end up much smaller than they intended to. They're so small they can't hear Marco speaking, so the two Animorphs who can thought-speak have to relay directions to him. Marco has to save them from a beetle before encouraging them onto a piece of straw and sticking them up his nose. They morph to birds in order to have an easier way of moving about inside Marco, and they quickly encounter the Helmacrons--much larger than they should be. Ax wonders whether he miscalculated the equations to shrink them, but they realize the Helmacrons probably anticipated that they would try to use the ray, and sabotaged it. They will have to figure out how to capture Helmacrons that are a hundred times their size, and in the meantime, Marco has to keep surveillance on the kid who took their picture with his disposable camera.
Marco's mission to get the camera back does not go well. He manages to get in the window of the kid's apartment and catches sight of the camera but gets attacked by a dog, and then has to make a break for it when he hears sirens. Then he gets a tickly nose and finds blood coming out. When he sneezes, one of the Helmacrons gets sneezed out. The Animorphs are forced to anchor themselves in Marco's mucus to stop from being blown away. They morph again, half battle morphs and half animals that can see well in the dark. Then they try to reason with the Helmacrons, who mock them. They try to attack, but the Helmacrons' Dracon beams scare them because when they fire Marco starts bleeding. They claim they're going to stop Marco's heart unless the Animorphs give them the blue box, and so Ax suggests (privately to his friends, of course) that they should double-cross the Helmacrons: pretend they're going to give them what they want, then not do it.
The Helmacrons don't buy the deal, though, and then in trying to attack them Rachel ends up falling down Marco's esophagus and into his stomach. Helmacrons follow, and the Animorphs try to figure out how to fight back. Some Helmacrons get digested, and Rachel is strongly affected by the stomach acid, so she morphs to get out of it. Cassie ends up using her humpback whale morph to buoy the others up. But then Helmacrons start slicing through the stomach wall and jumping into the bloodstream, claiming they're going to go stop Marco's heart. The Animorphs don't understand why they're doing that since they shouldn't be able to breathe in there, but soon realize the Helmacrons don't breathe. They morph to shark so they can follow in the bloodstream, but of course, being sharks, they're at first quite distracted by the blood.
The tiny sharks swim through Marco's vein and follow the sound of the heart. They're able to see Marco's immune system attacking viruses, and they can see red blood cells which are too large to go into their gills. They try to swim into the correct path to follow the Helmacrons to the heart, and end up inside one of its chambers trying to stop the Helmacrons from firing when suddenly their surroundings start changing. Marco's morphing!
Why? Because he went back to try to get that camera again and got caught by the dog again. He feels annoyed that his friends are not keeping in touch with him, so he takes his only option and morphs to roach to hide from the dog and the people whose attention it attracted. Jake demands to know why he morphed and Marco won't tell him. But then the Helmacrons gloat again and seem to have fired into some organ of Marco's, and Marco won't answer Jake's calls after that. Rachel gets very angry at the thought of Marco dying at the hands of the tiny egomaniacal Helmacrons, and flies into a rage.
When Rachel gets one of the Helmacrons' weapons, they suddenly seem interested in bargaining. Their offer is that they will conquer Earth last in return for the blue box. Obviously they don't like this logic. Jake offers them the chance to either let them unshrink themselves in return for one charge off the blue box . . . or die. They take the uneasy truce and leave Marco's dead roach body, but they don't know where they are--they aren't in the barn. They coax Marco to wake up, because Cassie insists even if their hearts stop roaches keep living. This ends up being true and they're able to get him to wake up and morph back to himself. And after some arguing, they get Marco to morph to seagull and fly back to the barn.
There, they carry out the plan and return to their usual size, and let the Helmacrons charge their ship before letting them leave. Marco is left unable to explain why he went against orders and morphed, but later Rachel finds out that Marco had gotten a rabies virus from the dog that bit him, and his judgment had been impaired because rabies affects sanity. Morphing saved his life because it erased the dog bite and the rabies that came with it. Everything's as it was, and they managed to get the camera. They'll have to destroy it because it's too risky to get it developed.
Narrators: Rachel, Marco
New known controllers:
New morphs acquired:
This book is ghostwritten by Emily Costello.
At one point a Controller shoots Rachel with a Dracon beam while she's in elephant morph. The lowest setting can knock out a human but probably wouldn't do anything but annoy the elephant, which is what happened. Question is, why didn't the Controller have the Dracon beam on a higher setting? They apparently go up high enough to actually vaporize any living thing, but even if the Controller didn't want to kill Rachel (so they could infest her and use her morphing ability), it seems he could have used a stronger setting and would know better than not to.
At one point the Helmacrons wish death on "the air-breathing alien," but no one seems to think this is significant. Then later everyone's mystified as to why they stepped into Marco's bloodstream if they wouldn't be able to breathe in there. Clearly it was a clue that they don't breathe air, but no one picked up on it.
An opening quotation mark was missing when someone was asking how they can go after a bunch of mushrooms.
After Marco has supposedly died in cockroach morph of a Helmacron blast, Rachel suggests tunneling into the lungs, and when they shoot through some air comes out and they acknowledge getting into the lungs. Roaches don't have lungs.
It seems odd that the Animorphs acknowledge the Helmacrons' possibility of aligning with the Yeerks or giving the Yeerks information about them, but then they let these blatantly untrustworthy creatures just charge up their ship and leave.
In a previous book, morphing did not rid any of the Animorphs of their illness, which was plot-relevant because the sickness they suffered from downed everyone on the team except Cassie, requiring her to do missions herself. But in this book, Marco morphing in and out of roach morph cured him of rabies. It could be that because the illness was some kind of alien illness they all caught from Ax, it behaves differently than human illnesses, or because rabies is viral and not bacterial, but this could be an inconsistency.
It's alarming that Marco could get rabies from a domesticated dog that was living as someone's pet.
No attempt was ever made to follow up on the kid who took the Animorphs' picture. Sure the camera was the evidence, but it would have made some sense to look into there being someone who had witnessed their human forms morphing.
Jake: "I'm just guessing--it's because they want to kill you."
Ax: "I may be more useful up Marco's nose."
Jake: "If Helmacrons don't breathe, why do they have noses?"
Ax: "Eenie, meenie, minie, moe?"