The Strategic Space Command has by the year 2075, become the single, dominant force through which man is exploring the universe. From its headquarters on Earth, SSC directs all activities in space, which it has divided up into Sectors (incredibly vast areas, covering millions of square miles). Each Sector is assigned a Galactic Expeditionary Force, whose job is to explore, open trade with friendly aliens, and establish earth colonies on new worlds. Each GEF is therefore a rather large fleet, with a wide variety of spacecraft. These include strictly military-type ships, such as light and heavy destroyers and cruisers; freighters and specialized supply ships; research, repair, and hospital ships; colony transports; etc.
Each GEF is also assigned one Ranger Squadron, composed of four Galactic Cruisers modified for the Explorer Class. The Leif Ericson is this type of ship, and is a member of Ranger Squadron Omega Delta. Her sister ships in the Squadron are the Vasco De Gama, Marco Polo, and John Glenn.
The Rangers are heavily armed, have a crew of 85 men (including seven Midshipmen), and are each equipped with two fighter-intercepter scout ships. Ranger ships are capable of galactic travel, and are powered by two highly-advanced ion drive engines. The Squadron’s mission is to operate far ahead of the main fleet, spreading out and penetrating the unknown area ahead. Each Ranger ship therefore operates as an independent unit with a variety of duties and capabilities, which include exploration, mapping, reconnaissance, mineralogical research, biological studies, routine patrol, and (when necessary) combat operations against hostile alien forces.
The Leif Ericson is the first in a new series of AMT-designed space ship model kits. Each kit will include an adventure story, involving that ship, to help demonstrate the purpose or mission of that particular ship. All of these stories will have a central character, Midshipman Lancer Scott. Lance is 17 years old, tall for his age, and while he does not have a muscular build, he is stronger than he looks. He is highly intelligent, quick on his feet, and is an expert in hand-to-hand combat. As is the case with present-day Annapolis Midshipmen, Lance (as a "Space Cadet") must spend a certain amount of his Academy training on active duty assignments with various ships in the space fleet. In our first story, he is one of the, seven Midshipmen assigned to the Leif Ericson, and is working in the Weapons Systems department, under Lt. Evans, the Weapons Systems Officer.