|This article is written from a Real World point of view.|
The Journey, published in May 2000 and written by Emily Costello based on an outline by K.A. Applegate, is the forty-second book in the Animorphs series. It is the thirteenth book narrated by Rachel and the twelfth by Marco.
Sometimes your worst problems are the ones you can't actually see. Like the Helmacrons. These less-than-an-inch-high aliens are back, and they want the morphing cube more than ever. Obviously, Rachel, the other Animorphs and Ax can't let them take the cube. But when Rachel tries to stop the Helmacrons from stealing it, Marco gets in the way and ends up with tiny aliens, well, up his nose.
Rachel and the others can't let the Helmacrons stay inside Marco's head. They're armed, and could cause serious damage. So the Animorphs and Ax come up with a plan to evict the Helamcrons from their new residence. But it involves a shrinking ray and the obvious: Marco's nose...
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A boy takes a picture of the Animorphs while they are demorphing in an alley. They track the boy down and decide to keep watch on him. When they go to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic to reconvene, the Helmacrons show up and demand the morphing cube because they need it to charge their ship. In the battle that ensues, the Helmacrons leave the ship and enter Marco's nose. The Animorphs decide to use the Helmacron ship to shrink themselves so they can follow the Helmacrons and stop them from killing Marco from the inside. When they shrink, they realize that they are too small to hear the speech of full-size humans, which didn't happen the last time they were shrunk. When they catch up to the Helmacrons inside Marco's nose, they notice that they have been shrunk to 1/100th the size of the Helmacrons, who tweaked the shrinking device before they left their ship knowing that the Animorphs would shrink themselves so they could go after them.
Meanwhile, Marco is bored of just sitting around and decides to go over to the apartment of the boy who took their picture to try to steal his camera. He goes up the fire escape and enters through a window, but before he can even pick up the camera he gets bitten by a dog and flees home. Rachel falls down into Marco's stomach, and the Helmacrons as well as the rest of the Animorphs follow her, where they are shortly burnt by stomach acid before morphing sharks and following the Helmacrons into the bloodstream. In the bloodstream, Rachel notices a pathogen while looking at all of the different types of blood cells around them. They realize that when the Helmacrons reach the heart, they can stop it from beating with their weapons.
Marco goes back to the apartment a second time, and while he is there someone comes home. He soon finds himself trapped in the closet and against Jake's orders, morphs a cockroach. The Helmacrons shoot at the cockroach's heart, after which everyone believes Marco to be dead until they remember that cockroaches can withstand serious trauma. In the meantime, the Animorphs get the weapons away from the Helmacrons by biting their legs. Marco is indeed alive, and they manage to get him to morph back to human. Holding the Helmacrons at gunpoint, they all return to the barn, and recharge the Helmacron's ship with the morphing cube. The Helmacrons leave earth again after promising to never come back. Later at home, Rachel discovers that the pathogen she saw in Marco's bloodstream was rabies, and his near death experience actually saved him from the virus. Rachel considers calling Jake and informing him and the others, but decides it can wait until the morning.
- Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul (Mentioned Only)
- Naomi (Mentioned Only)
- Dan (Mentioned Only)
- Walter (Mentioned Only)
- Eva (Mentioned Only)
- Nora Robbinette (Mentioned Only)
- Euclid (Mentioned Only)
- Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic
- Yeerk pool (Mentioned Only)
- Helmacron homeworld (Mentioned Only)
- Andalite homeworld (Mentioned Only)
- Dracon beams
- Helmacron ship (Final Appearance)
- Escafil Device
- Elfangor's fighter (Mentioned Only)
- Emergency Kandrona Particle Generators (Mentioned Only)
- After a mission to destroy a factory producing portable Kandrona machines, the Animorphs are photographed demorphing by a child around their age, using a disposable camera.
- The Helmacrons make their second and final appearance, where they enter Marco's nose and threaten to kill him from within unless the Animorphs relinquish custody of the Escafil Device.
- The other Animorphs shrink themselves and enter Marco's nose as well.
- Marco is told not to morph while the Animorphs are inside him and thus breaks into the photographer's apartment in human form, where he is then bit by a rabid dog and infected by rabies.
- Marco disobeys Jake's orders and morphs into a cockroach, eliminating the rabies virus from his system. The Animorphs and the Helmacrons manage to survive the morphing process, although the Helmacrons fire their Dracon beams at Marco's heart. However, Cassie remembers that cockroaches are nearly impossible to kill and states that not even heart failure could kill them; the Animorphs manage to revive Marco and coax him to demorph in time, and Marco escapes the apartment, along with the camera, his friends and the Helmacrons, who leave Earth once more.
- Marco and Rachel's relationship is once again briefly explored, with Rachel contemplating whether or not she should give him a hug and remarking how Marco would be akin to a Calvin Klein model if he wore underwear and nothing else; Marco also muses about a dream he had in which he was to marry Rachel.
|Morpher||Morphs Acquired||Morphs Used|
|Jake||--||Siberian Tiger, Great Horned Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Brown Bat, Hammerhead Shark|
|Rachel||--||African Elephant, Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Grizzly Bear, Hammerhead Shark|
|Tobias||--||Hork-Bajir (Ket Halpak), Brown Bat, Hammerhead Shark|
|Cassie||--||Wolf, Great Horned Owl, Brown Bat, Humpback Whale, Hammerhead Shark|
|Marco||--||Silverback Gorilla (Big Jim), Great Horned Owl, Cockroach, Seagull|
|Ax||--||Great Horned Owl, Northern Harrier, Brown Bat, Hammerhead Shark|
- The cover quote is, "Rachel is about to go where no human has gone before...."
- The inside cover quote is, "An elephant never forgets. Especially this elephant...."
- This marks the sixth time that the Chee pose as the Animorphs while they are on a mission.
- This is the third and final book in the numbered series and the fourth overall where no one acquires a new morph, following The Conspiracy, VISSER and The Familiar.
- This is the last book to feature Rachel's original cover model.
- While in Marco's stomach, Rachel remarks that it is not her first time being digested, referencing her ordeal from In the Time of Dinosaurs
- ANIBASE: The Journey marked the return of the teeny Hemacrons (who first appeared in The Suspicion), aliens on a quest to take over the universe despite their diminutive size. "About half the fans really hate the Helmacrons," Katherine Applegate says. "Me, I loved the two Helmacron books. It can't be all dark and serious, people. You need some dumb fun every now and then."
- Rachel refers to Elfangor as a War-Prince; Elfangor's rank was that of Prince.
- The Animorphs raid a factory disguised by the Yeerks to be a Dunkin' Donuts factory in order to hide in plain sight. Dunkin' Donuts did not have any locations in the Western United States, specifically California, where the series takes place, until 2014; the series at this point is taking place in 1999-2000.
- The inside cover features Tobias in Hork-Bajir morph, depicted with having three forehead blades, although since Tobias' morph is that of Ket Halpak, a female, he should only have two forehead blades.
- Rachel is surprised that her African elephant morph is capable of swimming, remarking that she had remembered and learned it on television. However, Rachel learned this first-hand back in The Reaction, when her morphing allergy caused her to morph the elephant in the ocean.
- One of Cassie's lines are written in thought-speak despite the fact that she is human form.
- Marco is affected by the rabies virus within hours, despite the fact that it would take months in reality for his symptoms to manifest.