Each year the Fleet Academy of the Earth Colonial Navy organizes a special competition for its cadets. Participants take part in a race around the Earth's orbit. The winner receives a special commendation in their file, giving them a better chance to get the most prestigious postings after graduation.
The Dean of the Fleet Academy challenges all cadets to this year's Academy Gauntlet. Pilot registration starts today!
Participants are given ships from among the fleet of training ships of the academy. Each pilot is allowed to have two other crew members, an engineer and a navigator. The crews are allowed to modify their ships as they wish to achieve a better speed. Officially, sabotage of other ships is not allowed, but the academy often turns a blind eye to what participants are doing in the preparation period. The winner of the gauntlet is the first ship to finish 5 laps around Earth.
The ships selected for the gauntlet are unarmed and mounting any weaponry onto them is against the rules. Any crew caught doing so would be disqualified. The rules, however, don't say anything about electronic warfare systems. As the result, there is a lot of stories about ships mysteriously being disabled during the race. In most of these cases there was no solid evidence of those ships being targeted by electronic warfare systems.