"Todd" - as everyone calls him - is the youngest graduate ever from the space academy. He unknowingly takes a test that goes wrong, and is taken under the tutilege of "Iron Mike" Cogsworth and elevated to the rank of space pilot. Mike arranges for him to be the first pilot of a new style explorer scout.
There is a plot by a few military and political people to seize control of the space services to use in a war with Goombridge 1618-4. It is an unwinable war, and would be a squandering of resources of both worlds. Todd works with his crew (he is now a commander) and the president to thwart the plot.
During this time, he meets and talks with an alien over radio in space, learning that Terra is under a quarantine by the Galactic Empire because they can't resolve the problems among their own kind, so certainly couldn't get along with other races.
Todd spends the rest of his life trying to make Terra a partner in the Galactic Empire.
This report prepared by C. D. Moulton