Daniel X takes on the wildest threat the world has ever seen—someone whose craving for fame could destroy the planet!
All's quiet in the small town of Holliswood. Television sets, computers, and portable devices are aglow in every home, classroom, and store. Yet not all is perfect. Evil is lurking, just out of sight, behind the screen.
Residing in this sleepy town is a villain with more ambition than the world can withstand. Twisted beyond reason, he is dead set on throwing Holliswood into chaos and documenting the destruction of every person in it, including Daniel X.
The only person who can stop this made-for-TV tyrant, Daniel must use his extraordinary power to save the town. But this devilish director has assembled an all-star team of his own creation and vows to stage the most spectacular finale the world has ever seen. Can Daniel X stop this deranged outlaw—or will he find himself on the cutting room floor?
Part One | ACTUALLY, ALIENS SHOULD FEAR THE REAPER
YOU KNOW THE second-coolest of all my superpowers? It's the one that lets me hear any song I've ever heard as loud as I want, as often as I want, and anytime I want. It's like I have an iPod implanted in my head. Only it holds, like, terabytes more songs, and the sound quality's better. And it never needs to be docked or recharged.
The song I was playing over and over again right then, as I motorcycled down I-80, was "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. I know it kinda puts the K in Klassic Rock, but it's a good one. And it was going along real well with my thoughts and plans—wherein I am the Grim Reaper...of very, very bad aliens.
I leave the good ones alone, of course. But, honestly —not to bum you out—I've only bumped into a couple other "good" aliens here on your Big Blue Marble.
So what's the coolest of my superpowers, you ask? The way I can smell alien sweat from ten miles away even while speeding along a highway with my helmet on? The way I've recently learned to make high-performance, hybrid-engine racing bikes that can travel three thousand miles at seventy-five miles per hour on a tank of gas? The way I can pop a wheelie...on my front tire?
Well, that's almost untopable, but, no, the coolest of my superpowers is the one with which I can create my best friends—Willy, Joe, Emma, and Dana—out of my imagination.
It takes some concentration, and I have to be rested and not taking any allergy medicine, but, really, being able to shoot fireballs or outrace locomotives is nothing next to being able to make friends out of thin air.
And they're not bottom-of-the-barrel specimens, either. Joe is great with video games and computers, and otherwise is basically a life-support device for the world's fastest-moving mouth. He's either chewing his way through some mountain of food that weighs twice as much as his skinny butt, or he's talking a blue—and totally hilarious—streak.
Emma is our moral compass. The part that gets her worked up about Alien Outlaws is that they're on Terra Firma and doing harm not just to people but to Nature. Mother Earth has no better advocate than her Birkenstockwearing self.
Emma's older brother is Willy. He's the ultimate wing man, built like a brick and slightly harder to scare than one too. He's our go-to guy when it comes to weapons and engines and stuff like that. Plus, he's more loyal than, like, Batman's butler Alfred, Sam in The Lord of the Rings, Wesley in The Princess Bride, and King Arthur's horse combined.
Finally, Dana is, well...I guess you could say she's my dream girl. She manages to be both the most attractive and the most grounded person I've ever encountered. In the universe. Remember, I haven't exactly been operating out of a Montana shack all these years.
Oh, and all four of them happen to be outstanding at don't-try-this-at-home motorcycle stunts. Which we were thoroughly enjoying on this particular night, chasing after an eighteen-wheeler. Keep in mind that aliens don't necessarily abide by the same rules humans do when it comes to minimum driving age.
"Slalom!" Willy, who was in the lead, called out. One of our favorite tricks.
We leaned the bikes almost on their sides and—get this—zipped under the trailer...behind wheels seven, eight, nine, and ten, and in front of wheels eleven through eighteen...and came out safely on the other side.
Finally we pulled up to a small-town diner.
"Sorry about this," I said to my friends, climbing off my bike. I was about to face off with the most powerful alien I'd ever engaged in mortal combat.
"Sorry for what?" asked Joe. "Number 5," I told them, furrowing my brow. "You smell that?"
There was a terrible smell in the air, like somebody had left a herring-salad sandwich in a hot car...for a week.
"Ugh!" Emma wrinkled her nose. "I'm catching it too. Seriously bad news."
"Yeah, Daniel," Willy echoed. "This guy must be more evil than the stink in your sneakers. We better get ready to rumble."
"My sneakers don't smell, Willy," I said. "And I can't put you guys at risk. This is between me...and Number 5."
"You're such a boy," said Dana, hand on her hip, a look of concerned disapproval on her face. "Are you sure you're ready to go that high up The List? No offense, Daniel, but you got pretty lucky with Number 6."
"Always with the pep talks, Dana. Thanks a lot."
Then I clapped my hands, and she and the rest of them flickered out of existence. (I actually don't need to clap, but it looks cool.)
And then I cleared my head for battle.
Copyright © 2009 by James Patterson
Milo Ventimiglia stars in the hit NBC show Heroes and previously starred in Gilmore Girls. His films include Gamer alongside Gerard Butler (300), and Armored with Laurence Fishburne.