First edition cover
|Cover artist||Clifford Geary|
|Media type||Print (|
Space Cadet is a 1948
In 2075, teenager Matt Dodson applies to join the prestigious Space Patrol. After a number of physical, mental, and ethical tests, he is accepted as a cadet. He makes friends with fellow recruits William 'Tex' Jarman,
Burke eventually either resigns or is asked to leave, and goes into the merchant service, but the remainder do well enough to be assigned to working Patrol ships. Dodson, Jarman and Jensen ship out on the Aes Triplex. Their first real mission is to help search for a missing research vessel, the Pathfinder, in the
Then, he receives an urgent message to investigate an incident on Venus. He sends Lieutenant Thurlow and the cadets to the planet's surface. The lander touches down on a
These particular natives had never seen human beings before, until old classmate Burke showed up in a prospecting ship. He had taken the matriarch of the local clan hostage when she refused to give him permission to exploit a rich deposit of radioactive ores. The locals promptly attacked the ship and killed his crew; Burke managed to send a message for help before being taken prisoner.
Jensen skillfully gains the matriarch's trust and convinces her that they are honorable and civilized, unlike Burke, and the Patrolmen are released. Neither the lander nor Burke's ship is flightworthy. To their amazement, she takes the stranded humans to the carefully preserved Astarte, the legendary first ship to set out for Venus over a century before and thought to have been lost en route. According to the log, the crew perished from disease. With the help of the natives, the cadets recommission the ship and fly it back to (human) civilization at Venus's South Pole colony. Dodson is initially disappointed when they are not treated as heroes—but then he realizes that what they accomplished was simply what was expected of Patrolmen.