|Behind the scenes|
A self-proclaimed "official Trekkie", Richard Carpenter and his two children Emily Carpenter|Emily and Lewis enjoyed an annual camping trip with a number of other Star Trek fans. One of these camps was - by coincidence - being held in the forest near the Hork-Bajir valley. When the Yeerks attacked the valley, having been led there by a captured free Hork-Bajir, Jake and Tobias of the Animorphs tried to make Richard and the other campers leave the area. However, Richard - believing the Animorphs to be aliens - instead volunteered to help defend the valley against the Yeerks.
Richard did not at first understand the true nature of the Yeerks' attack, believing the consequences of battle against Hork-Bajir to be less deadly than they inevitably were. Moments before the attack, he realised the level of danger that he and his children were in, and ordered them to leave the valley to protect themselves. Lewis and Emily would not abandon the free Hork-Bajir, and stayed to fight, while Richard took shelter away from the battle.
Sadly, Richard was unsuccessful in his attempt to protect himself, and was killed - by unspecified circumstances - in the ensuing battle between the free Hork-Bajir and the Yeerks. It fell to Tobias and Cassie to inform Lewis and Emily of their father's death.
Jake's decision to let Richard and the other campers stay in the valley and fight the Yeerks parallels the events of Isaiah Fitzhenry's diary, where Fitzhenry allows the black volunteers to take up arms and fight against the Confederacy against the wishes of his unit and the townspeople.
Richard Carpenter is also the name of one of the members of the music group The Carpenters. Whether or not K.A. Applegate or ghostwriter Ellen Geroux intended this to be a deliberate reference is unknown.