The door chimed and Admiral Starblayze looked up from his work.  “Come in,” he said.

Admiral Rigorious strode into the room and sat down.  “You wanted to see me?”

“Yes, and I suppose you know why.”  Admiral Starblayze slid his work to the side of his desk and leaned back in his chair slightly.  A stern look covered his face.

Admiral Rigorious smiled knowingly.  “The infiltration.”

“I don’t know what to say,” said Admiral Starblayze, shaking his head.  “Obviously something has to be done about Security.  We can’t have our cadets sneaking into the lower bunker, but I suppose that goes without saying.”

“You’re welcome.”

Admiral Starblayze raised his eyebrow.  “I beg your pardon?”

“I said you’re welcome.  You assigned me to train the cadets, to prepare their minds, to get them ready for the challenges that await them once we’re ready for launch.  And I’ve done exactly that.  You didn’t think that these sharp young minds would be the least bit fooled by the dummy off-limits zones and the training exercises, did you?  These are our best and brightest young minds.  Of course they’d see through it all and discover the truth.”

Admiral Rigorious sat forward in his seat, clearly proud of his students.  He went on, “You see, we’re already deep into their training.  It’s not a matter of drills and digital simulations… it’s a matter of honing their minds to think outside the box, to invent new solutions to problems they’ve never faced before.  That’s what I’ve been putting these cadets through, so it’s no wonder they’d discover the ships in the lower levels.  And now that they know the truth, they’re only working harder on their training.  They can’t wait to step inside the ships and pilot them on their first adventure.  They don’t know where it will take them, so they know they have to be ready for everything.  Teamwork, communication, problem solving… their scores in all these areas have risen noticeably since this so called ‘infiltration.’  So, yes…. you’re welcome.”

He sat back in his chair, glowing with pride.

Admiral Starblayze shrugged and chuckled softly.  “Then I guess they’ll be pleased to hear the latest news.  We’re almost ready for launch.”  He slid some images across his desk.  Admiral Rigorious thumbed through them, looking at the latest construction progress.

Admiral Starblayze continued, “So, as you can see, the big day is almost here.  I think it’s time we start taking her out for some test drives.  Begin assembling your crews.”

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