Fifteen-year-old Trip Tucker is attending summer camp at Roykirk School. The class are shocked when their scheduled teacher is replaced by a Vulcan, Velik, who tells them he aims to submit three ideas from the class to the prestigious Cherenko-Cochrane Competition, which requires a new idea connected with space travel.
Trip's proposal for a new method of regulating plasma flow is one of those selected for development. Trip and his friend Chris work on it but Velik has to leave for Vulcan shortly before the end of summer, saying an ailment his people suffer from periodically has come on early. To everyone's shock, the replacement teacher Yelena Marinin reveals the deadline for competition submissions has passed with none of their ideas being submitted. Although Chris realises Velik made no promises and was trying to encourage them, Trip feels humiliated and distrustful of Vulcans, vowing to make it into space without their help.
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- This story establishes that Starfleet's first ever name - in 2130 - was the Global Aeronautics and Space Agency (or GASA).
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