In the fifth installment of James Patterson's action-packed Daniel X series, Daniel must now face an alien whose origins appear nearer to the depths of Hell than the outer reaches of the galaxy. Number Two is an unstoppable criminal that's slowly been amassing an underground army of disgusting, disgruntled, and dangerous aliens to help him enslave Earth's population. And it's all in preparation for the arrival of Number One, the most powerful alien in the universe and Daniel's arch-nemesis.
To Daniel's horror, thousands of humans defect to the alien's side, making the odds of success that much more impossible. But for the first time in his life, Daniel isn't alone in his fight. He's connected with several military and intelligence groups—including the daughter of a prominent FBI agent--and is prepared to lead the ultimate showdown against the evil that has plagued planet Earth for so long. Readers, beware—and be prepared for a truly epic battle that evokes the ancient prophecies of Armageddon!
Prologue | High-Octane Evil
“PREPARE FOR ARMAGEDDON,” hissed Number 2, his words dripping black‑hearted viciousness. “It is time for the total annihilation!”
All around me, alien outlaw freaks were foaming at the mouth. Literally.
This was it, the moment they’d all been waiting for.
The one I’d been dreading.
“Attacks on Washington, New York, London, Paris, Moscow, and Beijing will soon commence. Los Angeles, Frankfurt, Rome, Chicago, and Tokyo will also tremble and fall. I will crush their small towns and villages: Ames, Iowa, and Marietta, Georgia. Edam in the Netherlands and Malacca in Malaysia. Not a single earthling will be spared as I lay waste to their so‑called civilization.”
As you can probably tell, Number 2 and his hench‑ lackeys had a pretty low opinion of humanity. Then again, I’m pretty sure none of them had ever bothered checking out Michelangelo’s David, a Beethoven symphony, or an orange‑and‑white swirl cone down on the Jersey shore.
“This planet is ripe for the taking,” the demon continued, his voice cold, confident, and eerily intelligent. “The human race has never been more divided, more shortsighted, more consumed with greed, or more inflamed by religious differences. Before I am through, all of humanity will hail me as their new Lord and Master. They will gladly embrace all that I believe in and become my slaves.”
The crowd growled its approval.
Number 2 silenced them with a simple, savage flick of the wrist. “There is, however, one who has the power to stop all I seek to accomplish. A young boy. A teenager.”
A few of his henchbeasts dared to laugh, until Number 2 glared at them with his red‑hot laser‑pointer eyes. Suddenly sizzling red beams shot out of the leader’s eyes and threw the laughing monsters halfway across the cavern, where they remained motionless on the ground.
“If you fear me—and you should—then fear this child! He has already destroyed many of the universe’s most powerful warriors. Never underestimate his abilities because of his youth.” He gestured at the gargantuan cloud of gray smoke billowing up behind him. “Never underestimate Daniel X!”
Right on cue, my mug shot flashed into view on that thirty‑foot‑tall smoke screen. I was squinting, had a zit near my nose, and basically looked like a total scrungrow. They must’ve found the yearbook from the one school where I actually hung around long enough for picture day.
“Find him,” said Number 2, his voice weirdly serene. “Bring Daniel to me and, rest assured, I will destroy him.”
Needless to say, destroying Number 2 was high on my to‑do list, too. But I had to wonder: Was there really any conceivable way for me, a teenager, to stop him, a lethally powerful alien commanding an army of murderous minions?
And what did this say about Number 1? If Number 2 could command a force this enormous, how huge was Number 1’s army?
“You will receive further instructions in due course,” said Number 2 as his wings creaked open. “For the present, your mission is quite simple: Find the boy. Bring him to me.”
All around me, grotesque alien beings sprouted webbed wings and collapsed into themselves as if they were gray, gauzy umbrellas. I quickly realized what was going on: Number 2’s storm troopers were turning themselves into Diphylla ecaudata.
In an instant, I was surrounded by thousands upon thousands of unbelievably ugly, bloodsucking, wing‑ flapping, furry fiends —all of them shrieking with glee.
Well, you know what they say: When in hell, do as the hellions do.
Totally focused on all things flying mammalian, I used my transformative powers to turn myself into a bloodthirsty bat. My nose shriveled down into a pug muzzle. My teeth sharpened into fangs. My ribs crunched out to form the articulated skeletal scaffolding for a pair of thin‑ skinned wings.
When all I could see was a glowing green radar screen, I squealed, fluttered out my webbed wings, and flew back up that mineshaft with the rest of the repulsively scuzzy flock.
Honestly? The whole bat thing was pretty disgusting.
I don’t know how Bruce Wayne deals with it.
Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson
Milo Ventimiglia starred in the hit NBC show Heroes and previously starred in Gilmore Girls. His films include Garner alongside Gerard Butler, and Armored with Laurence Fishburne.