Johnny B. Goode, Or Else!by Jeffrey Alan Schechter
Halfway across the universe, the possible acceptance of Earth into the Federation Of Celestial
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If ever there was a kid that could blend into a crowd, Jonathan Benjamin Goode is that kid. Johnny is the most average kid in the world; solid 'B-' student in school, teachers often forget his name, he never makes an impression on anyone. That's all about to change.
Halfway across the universe, the possible acceptance of Earth into the Federation Of Celestial Orbiters (F.O.C.O.) is discussed. F.O.C.O. is the governing body of planets; with alien ambassadors of all shapes and sizes meeting in an orbiting space station to work out their differences, share knowledge, and keep peace in the universe. Once a planet becomes civilized enough to be considered it must first be tested to see if the inhabitants would make good citizens of the universe. Earth is the next planet up for consideration. The only question is...are the inhabitants of Earth sufficiently evolved to be members of F.O.C.O.?
In keeping with Federation policy, a representative of Earth is selected to undergo five tests to proves his "universanity" (as compared to "humanity"). If the earthling representative passes all five tests, earth will be admitted into the Federation. If the representative fails even one of the tests...Earth will be turned into a Class 5 slave planet; basically, stuck washing the boxer shorts of the universe until the sun burns out. In order to make the tests as fair as possible, the most average person on the planet is given the honor of representing the planet. Johnny B. Goode is chosen by F.O.C.O. as the world's most average person, and the Tests of Inclusion begin.
Making things more complicated, Johnny is allowed to tell only one person about his exalted role as earth's representative. As it is explained to him, if too many people know what he's doing it will throw off the test results. Does Johnny tell his mother? His best friend? A trusted teacher? No! Johnny accidentally tells Amber Barnes, the most beautiful, perfect girl in school who is forced to become his reluctant ally.
Together, Johnny and Amber must figure out how to pass each of the five tests to prove that our planet is ready for cosmic citizenship. Will they do it? The Earth's fate rests on the very average shoulders of Johnny B. Goode.
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