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In the year 2065, space pilot Dave Bartlett was honorably discharged from the Space Patrol at the age of forty-five due to his antiquated style of flying “by the seat of his pants” rather than using modern instrumentation. Dave was the last manual pilot before the Space Patrol switched all flights to electronically piloted spacecrafts.
Bartlett resented his forced early retirement and believed that no machine could ever perform as well as a human. Disguising himself as Zarkorr, Bartlett appeared at the United Nations Building. Zarkorr claimed to be a representative of The Galactic Federation, a group of planets that tested all planets capable of space travel to insure that none of them were malevolent. Zarkorr proposed a test to determine the intelligence and maturity of the people of Earth: if one Earthling could fly to Mars and back without electronic controls, relying only on his knowledge and instincts, mankind would be welcomed to the stars, but if he failed, Earth would be quarantined and possibly destroyed.
Being the only recently grounded pilot familiar with non-instrumental flight, Bartlett was recruited, and successfully made the perilous trip to Mars and back. Zarkorr accepted Earth into The Galactic Federation and Bartlett was reappointed as commander of the Space Patrol. He then secretly destroyed his Zarkorr costume.