Men in black: The Grazer conspiracy

Smith, Dean Wesley

Published by Bantam Books
ISBN 10: 0739409808 / ISBN 13: 9780739409800
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Synopsis: When aliens check in, they check them out.

The brand-new action-packed adventure with characters from the blockbuster movie continues!

The truth may be out there--but sometimes it comes too close for comfort. That's when the men and women of a supersecret organization swing into action. Their job is to monitor the Earth for alien infestation--and send them back where they come from. Be warned: The less you know, the better. This is their story.

Imagine not being invited to a party...and finding out that the scum of the universe had been asked specially. Imagine being really, really mad. Imagine deciding to blow up the host of that party--in this case, Earth. Thousands of alien warships are massing above the planet right now for just that reason. Someone on Earth asked the Grazers--the most hated aliens in the galaxy--to dinner.

As if the threat of annihilation wasn't enough for Agents Jay and Elle to deal with, the Grazers are big, dumb, and very hungry, and they're stripping the entire planet of grass and trees. But the worst is yet to come. For Jay and Elle are determined to find out who invited these alien parasites to Earth in the first place...and the trail leads straight to MiB.

Who at MiB would want to betray the organization--and all of humankind? And even more troubling, why? This time the truth isn't out there someplace. It's so close that Jay and Elle may not see it until it's too late. And by then, Earth just might be one big, empty salad bar.
© 2000 by Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.: 1:38 P.M.
May 6, 2001
New York City, New York


There's nothing like a warm, sunny day in early May in New York City. It brings out the people like bees to sweet-smelling flowers. Hordes of people. The sidewalks fill elbow to elbow, everyone walks instead of taking the subway or cabs. Every terrace, deck, and fire-escape landing is covered with a partially clad body enjoying the warmth. But it is the city's parks that take the brunt of the spring attack, as anyone with a little extra time wants to stroll among the budding trees and inhale the smell of freshly mowed grass to forget the winter just past.

MiB Special Forces Agent Jay, formerly New York Detective James Edwards, didn't even know the day had turned beautiful. With his partner, Elle, formally Dr. Laurel Weaver, city mortician, Jay sat at a long metal table, deep inside the gray walls of MiB headquarters in downtown New York. In front of him was the manual on the ritual habits of the Abosins, only one of a thousand alien races that visited or lived on Earth.

Abosins were a new race to Earth, with the first due to arrive in two days for a projected stay of three years. Jay and Elle had been given the assignment of showing them the "ropes" of living among humans. It wasn't a job either of them looked forward to. In fact, Jay had complained to Zed, saying, "What about ridding the earth of the scum of the universe and all that? When did we become tour guides?"

Zed had only snorted and didn't answer, which meant Jay and Elle were stuck. So now they were studying. Actually, they weren't going over the manual in a traditional sense. Instead they were doing what Jay called "absorbing the manual."

The MiB Special Educational Unit called it "Pattern Learning by Cellular Rearrangement."

No matter what the name, Jay hated doing it. He didn't like the idea of someone scrambling anything inside his head, either for pain, pleasure, or learning. As he told Elle, he had "moral objections" to anyone but him killing his brain cells. So he only used "absorbing" when they were pressed for time, which they were with the Abosin situation.

Elle didn't really trust the device either, even though she claimed to understand the principle of its operation. She had tried to explain it to Jay one afternoon, and only succeeded in losing him after two sentences. After that he and Elle just agreed they would use both ways of learning when they needed to. They would submit to "absorption" then test each other with the written manuals, just to make sure they knew what they needed to know.

Jay was just about to quiz Elle on the Abosin eating ritual, a disgusting cross between the way a pig rolls in mud and a female spider eats her mate. Thanks to "absorption," Jay could see in his mind exactly what activities the Abosin engaged in during this ritual, and this was, as far as he was concerned, already way too much information.

Thankfully Zed's voice broke in over the intercom, filling the room without being loud. To Jay, Zed's voice commanded authority. In all his years as a New York City cop, Jay had never had a boss with a voice like Zed's.

"We have a Grazer," Zed said. "Central Park. Containment teams on the way."

"On the road, boss," Elle said into the air as both agents sprang to their feet and headed for the door at a sprint.

Jay and Elle didn't even have to ask for specifics about the problem. They had dealt with one Grazer about two months after both of them had joined the MiB Special Services. A Grazer was an alien that stood about the size of a cow and looked like a mad scientist's idea of a cross between a grasshopper and a pig. They were also the dumbest aliens ever to take a ship through interstellar space.

The problem, though, was that Grazers simply loved Earth. There was something in the chlorophyll in the grass and plants that acted like an intoxicant to them. One sniff of Earth grass or any green-leafed Earth plant, and they would start eating and eating and eating. Nothing besides getting knocked out or killed could stop them.

The Grazers had another trait that compounded their love of chlorophyll. There was no limit to the amount of food that they could eat. Or at least none anyone had heard of.

That constituted a large containment problem to the MiB Special Forces. Grazer bodies simply grew bigger and bigger and bigger while the Grazer ate, expanding like a child's balloon in the hands of a mad clown. The biggest Grazer on the MiB records had been found by a man named Kay, who had trained Jay. That Grazer had been eating for days and had grown to the size of an elephant by the time Kay shot him. The resulting explosion of half-digested leaves, flaps of Grazer skin, and green alien blood covered a half-block area of the old World's Fair grounds in Spokane, Washington. Jay had thought the slime that had resulted from the exploding bug on his first mission had been bad. Compared with the pictures Kay had taken in Spokane after the big Grazer explosion, however, the bug guts looked almost appetizing.

Out in the Galaxy, Grazers had the reputation of dumb guests who always come to the party, eat too much, and never seem to want to leave. They were mostly ignored. And because of the effect of Earth vegetation on them, they were not allowed anywhere near the planet for any reason. Nevertheless, a chlorophyll-junkie Grazer usually managed to slip in at least once every six months, causing a containment nightmare for MiB.

Elle monitored the police radio bands as Jay weaved their special black LTD in and out of afternoon traffic, headed for the west side of Central Park. Jay swerved into a parking lane, then yanked the LTD hard right through a red light, turning with traffic to the sounds of a dozen cab horns.

"Police problems at the park," Elle said as the police scanner filled her in on the police plans.

"Better tell the boss," Jay said as he shoved a cab to one side and scraped past a bus before running a red light, all this to the accompaniment of more honking and fist waving.

Elle ignored his driving as she punched a button on the dash and Zed's face appeared on the screen.

"Police have ten cars ahead of us," Elle said, relaying the information she had received from the scanner. "Plus they're bringing in a chopper."

Zed frowned. "Understood. We'll stop the chopper from here. And all the news choppers, too. But you'll have to handle the newspeople on the ground. One containment team is on-site, six more are en route."

Elle nodded and cut the connection.

"Goin' ta be a mess," Jay said, cutting the LTD up onto the sidewalk just inside the park entrance and blowing his horn to warn off the pedestrians. Most of them scurried out of his way, but he had to swerve to miss an elderly couple, plowing the LTD through a garbage can in the process.

"You want me to drive?" Elle asked calmly as she worked on the monitor in the dashboard in front of her.

"I'll be gettin' us there," Jay said, accelerating across the grass toward the reported location of the alien. He would, too. Elle was a good driver, but he was better. And he had told her that often. She had disagreed. They had settled on taking turns driving. It was just easier that way.

Ahead, on the far side of a stand of trees, Jay could see a kind of shimmering area of air, as if he were looking through a layer of clear water around the space. The shimmering always indicated a shielded alien ship.

Jay sighed in relief. A shielded ship meant almost no one saw it land and normal radar couldn't follow it. Shielding didn't prevent alien ships from being detected by MiB orbital scans, but it did keep the level of containment down to only the park and those who had seen the alien.

Jay pointed at it. "We got lucky."

Elle glanced up from her computer and nodded. "That we did." She glanced back at the computer terminal, reading off the information. "There's a carnival out in Brooklyn right now. We'll use the idea that an escaped animal was caught in the park for reprogramming. Make it a trained water buffalo. It says they have one of those out there, if you can believe that. Weird."

Jay just shook his head as he swung the car around a tree and headed toward the mass of people. "Not very original."

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Title: Men in black: The Grazer conspiracy
Publisher: Bantam Books
Binding: Unknown Binding
Book Condition: Good

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