The Visitor

Free The Visitor by K. A. Applegate

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Authors: K. A. Applegate
humble voice. “Iniss Two-Two-Six of the Sulp Niaar pool submits to you. May the Kandrona shine and strengthen you.”
    “And you, Iniss Two-Two-Six,” Visser Three said.
    I was shocked to hear the Visser’s voice. In his Andalite body he had no mouth. Andalites communicate telepathically, just the way I do when I’m in a morph.
    The second shock came from what they had said to each other. “Iniss Two-Two-Six.” That had to be the name of the Yeerk slug who controlled Chapman.
    The cat part of my brain was busy with a different question. Was this apparition real? No. There wasno scent. No scent at all. Only light and shadows.
    It was a hologram, I knew. But it was a very convincing hologram. Visser Three seemed almost solid. He looked around as though he could see from his holographic eyes.
    I prayed he wouldn’t look at me.
    “Report, Iniss.”
    “Yes, Visser.”
    Part of me just wanted to run. Even a hologram of Visser Three makes your skin crawl. But now that he had figured out it wasn’t real, the cat part of me was just bored.
    I realized why I could hear Visser Three—the hologram projector must not be able to transmit thought-speech. It translated it into regular speech.
    “Is there progress on locating the Andalite bandits?”
    “No, Visser. Nothing yet.”
    I knew who he meant by “Andalite bandits.” That was us, the Animorphs.
    “I want them found. I want them found NOW!”
    Chapman jumped back in surprise at the Visser’s command. I could smell fear on him.
    In a calmer tone, Visser Three continued. “This cannot go on, Iniss Two-Two-Six, it cannot go on. The Council of Thirteen will hear of it. They will wonder why I reported to them that all Andalite ships nearthis planet had been destroyed and all the Andalites killed. They will be suspicious. They will be angry. And when the Council of Thirteen is angry with me, I am angry with you.”
    Chapman was literally quivering. I smelled human sweat. And I smelled something else. Something not totally human. It was very faint … was that the Yeerk itself I was smelling? Was I smelling the Yeerk slug in Chapman’s head?
    It seemed impossible. But there was some strange smell. Something … something … I concentrated all my cat mind on analyzing the smell.
    “What is
    Chapman swiveled in his chair.
    I looked up and froze. Chapman was staring right at me. And worse, much worse, Visser Three’s stalk eyes were focused on me, too.
    “It’s called a cat,” Chapman said nervously. “An Earth species used as a pet. The humans keep them close and find comfort in them.”
    “Why is it in here?”
    “It belongs to the girl. My … the host’s daughter.”
    “I see,” Visser Three said. “Well, kill it. Kill it immediately.”

ill it. Kill it immediately.
    I wanted to run. I wanted to panic.
    But some strange combination of the cat’s cunning and my own intelligence came together and saved me.
    I didn’t so much as flick a whisker. If I had, I would have been dead. I knew that for a fact. If I’d reacted like I’d understood, they would have known for sure that I was no normal cat.
    Visser Three’s hologram watched me closely. All four of his Andalite eyes were focused on me now. And behind that gentle Andalite expression, I could feel the razor-sharp focus of the powerful, evil Yeerk.
    Chapman, too, was staring at me. He had the same look in his eyes that he had when he caught someone trying to skip out of school.
    I was terrified. Or at least the Rachel part of me was terrified. Fluffer couldn’t have cared less. He sensed my concern, but he had none of his own. There were no birds of prey here. There were no dogs. There were no smells of dominant cats. There was only a sort of three-dimensional picture that had no scent. And Chapman. Chapman might be prey, or he might not, but he was certainly no threat.
    “It could be an Andalite,” Visser Three said. “Destroy it.”
    In response I said,

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