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!
Part One | The Gathering Swarm
ATTILA THE GORILLA must’ve been seriously starving.
He immediately grabbed the pot of meaty yak gruel and tossed it into his mouth. That is, he grabbed me and threw me down his gullet in a single gulp.
Over the teeth, over the gums, look out stomach, here I come.
I slid into his esophagus and cannonballed down the quivering chute into his gut.
They say the way to an alien’s heart is through his stomach, and that was my plan: get digested, clog his arteries, and attack his heart!
Of course, when they say that thing about the stomach and heart, they leave out the bit about how, in between, you have to spend a little quality time down in the bowels. Remember to hold your nose when we get there.
I splashed into a pool of burbling acid and bobbed around with milky chunks of half‑digested french fries, the gooey remains of a Snickers bar, and what might’ve once been creamed corn. Attila’s stomach looked exactly like that Rubbermaid barrel full of pig slop the high school cafeteria guy scrapes all the dirty dishes into.
I sloshed forward, trying to avoid a McNugget oil slick. I needed to act like a bran muffin and move things along hisdigestivetract—fast. SoIswam downstreamasquickly as yak stew can.
Now, in order for me to get into Number 33’s bloodstream and give him some serious heartburn, I needed to be a nutrient by the time I reached his small intestine. If not, my whole plan (and me with it) would go straight down the toilet. Literally.
As I was funneled into the stomach’s exit ramp, I transformed myself into a glob of yak fat and, after a quick bile bath, moved into the small intestine. I thought I might hurl. The narrow, undulating tube smelled worse than any sewer I’ve ever had the pleasure of crawling through.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with the bowel stench for long, because I was instantly sucked through the intestinal lining. Just like that, I was cruising through Number 33’s circulatory system.
If I could make it into his arteries —which had to be unbelievably clogged with sixteen hundred years’ worth of Mongolian barbecue, mutton dumplings, and fried goat cheese —maybe I could completely block a blood vessel and shut his heart down.
Upstream, I could hear his heart muscle pounding out a four‑four beat like a quartet of thundering kettledrums.
Because he had four hearts!
If I blocked the blood flow to one, the other three might be able to compensate.
Okay. I needed a plan B, as in “Blow up” or “ka‑Boom.”
The vein I was log‑flume riding through splashed me down inside one of Attila’s throbbing hearts. As I shot through one of its valves, I made myself morph again.
I hung on to the flapping valve with both hands as I began to change back into me —the full‑sized, five‑foot‑ ten Daniel X. I started to expand inside his cramped heart chamber like one of those Grow Your Own Girlfriend sponge toys that’s guaranteed to grow 600 percent when you soak it in a bowl of water overnight.
Only I grew much bigger and much faster. Call it a teenage growth spurt.
I shattered his heart and burst through that alien’s ribcage like the alien in Alien.
Blood spurting all around me (picture ketchup squeeze bottles gone wild), I watched Number 33 —gasping and gurgling and clutching what was left of his chest —topple to the ground.
Attila the Hun was now Attila the Done.
Meanwhile, I was a little wet, somewhat sticky, and totally grossed out.
But I would live to fight another day. And another alien.
Clearly the most formidable and fearsome foe I have ever faced.
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.