Drake Highlander Stories
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Ringo Patterson Is Out of This World



   Ringo Patterson is one of the most popular kids in school and the star player on the basketball team, but no one wants to hang out with him. His friends don’t ask him over for dinner or to spend the night, and he never gets invited to parties.


   Is it his fluffy green hair that makes them so uneasy, or is it his pointed ears? Of course, it doesn’t help that his eyes are the size of ping-pong balls. Altogether, Ringo looks like a character loosed from the pages of a comic book. It wouldn’t bother him so much, except that it keeps him from having any true friends.


   Ringo’s dad knows why he’s different and longs to tell his adopted son, but Nan, his old friend, persuades him to wait. To reveal the boy’s past, she insists, would put him in grave danger. But for Ringo, danger suddenly becomes hard to avoid. A group of aliens steal him away to a distant planet, and close behind is a nightmarish beast intent on destroying him.


   The aliens are Spaceaways—children who have run away from home into space. These young space travelers fascinate Ringo because they look just like him. Moreover, they have the answers he’s been waiting for. The fluffy-haired Spaceaways travel the stars in fast ships, play games and sports with their friends, feast on junk food, and never, ever, have to listen to their parents. That’s because there are no adults on their planet. Long ago, the Spaceaways fled their parents’ world, Perenthia, and started their own society on the neighboring planet of Chaldra.


   But the Perenthians have never been pleased with this arrangement. Twice before they’ve tried and failed to recapture their children, and it’s believed that they’re preparing to strike again. Fortunately for the Spaceaways, they have a plan that will ensure their freedom, and Ringo holds the key to its success.


   Ringo agrees to join the Spaceaways on their mission. He joins the crew of the Comet, the fastest starship in the fleet, and his shipmates become his best friends. Yet, how can he possibly help the Spaceaways? He doesn’t know anything about astronavigation or how to pilot a starship, and he can’t seem to get the hang of flashball, their favorite sport. Among the Spaceaways, Ringo is horrible at everything.


   To make matters worse, a strange creature in an unidentified starship attacks the Comet and follows the Spaceaways to Chaldra, where it boldly strikes again. Ringo recognizes the creature, having seen it before in a childhood nightmare. His shipmates say the monster is a Gnyathan—a malevolent race of shapeshifters, once thought to be extinct.


   The Gnyathan’s persistence makes Ringo question their mission. He learns that they plan to abduct the Perenthian leader, Chancellor Xarthar, and they need him to get past the security network. Zane, the captain of the Comet, claims that the access codes are in Ringo’s DNA.


   Ringo can’t abide the Spaceaway’s unscrupulous plans, yet he doesn’t want to let them down. Ringo must decide whether to be the hero for his new friends, or stand up for what he believes is right. As he struggles with his decision, their starship draws closer to the enemy planet, and the gnyathan isn’t far behind.


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